All posts filed under: Likeable brands

Brands Beyond Functionality: 7 great lessons

Everyone talks about the need for brands to keep up with consumer demand, yet, curiously, some brands have lived on beyond their purely functional need, largely because they carry with them associations in the form of eternal ideas that continue to burn strong. Watches – for example. Who needs a Rolex today to tell the time (did they ever?) and yet the marque is unchallenged because prestige is an idea that never goes out of style. Zippo is another brand that has outlasted the heyday of cigarettes. As this article in Ad Week explains, “Harnessing its long-standing popularity with men and its indelible associations with fire, Zippo now sells an Outdoor Line that includes everything from emergency fire starters to hand warmers.” True diversification. In a world where so many brands lose relevance and fall by the wayside, what lessons should we take from iconic brands that have successfully passed their necessity date and continue to prosper? The issues faced by Victorinox seem to me to symbolise the dilemmas and the opportunities. Their Swiss Army …

What makes brand advertising iconic?

By Mark Di Somma Many of us who started in advertising did so I imagine because we saw an ad or a series of commercials that made us dream of creating something that good, something that a whole culture talked about. Recently, the people at Hubspot reached back, took five of the great campaigns and had them reimagined for today. It was an intriguing exercise. But while the creatives seemed to focus for the most part on how much the channels had changed in the time since the campaigns were forged and the implications of that for execution and campaign distribution, I thought it would be interesting to look at what some of these iconic ad campaigns did that made it possible for them to have such a deep cultural impact in the first place. What’s clear is that iconic status is not about the nobility of the product. As CNBC observed, AdAge refers to its selection of the top advertising campaigns of the 20th century as including: “two air polluters, nutritionless sugar water, one …

Nailing your opinions: creating a powerful brand manifesto

On All Saint’s Day 1517, Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church, sparking, in the eyes of many, what would become the Protestant Reformation. Whether or not he actually did post the Theses (of course there is historical debate) and what that generated are off-topic, but the action of pinning your colours to a statement of beliefs for all the world to see lies at the core of building and articulating an opinionated brand. Brands build trust through behaviours. And behaviours should be based on clear principles. Those principles should bring your purpose to life by laying out the clear psychological guidelines within which your brand operates. They are, when done well, an inspiring précis of your organisation’s worldview. Martin Lindstrom made the brand case for opinion for me in this post several years ago when he wrote: “The fact is that consumers are tiring of perfectly polished brands. Inoffensive brands. … Brands without well-defined opinions will find it increasingly difficult to gain traction in the market place. The challenge …

Don’t just provide reasons to buy. Change the reason for buying.

It’s tempting when your product all but parallels that of your competitors to be drawn into a meaningless war: a fight for market share that revolves around devaluing (looking to price the other guy out), trivial pursuit (nit-picking on features in a bid to show technical advantage) or overshadowing (spending up large in mainstream media in a bid to raise “awareness”). The problem with chasing competitive preference is that brands spend far too much time focusing on the competitive aspects and far too little insight on identifying where the preferences could lie. All three approaches above are looking to provide consumers with reasons to buy, but while they may change perceptions, they actually do little to change affinity. It’s a distinction that’s easily overlooked. Changing what consumers think of you for now does not automatically translate into a shift in how consumers feel about you – especially in the longer term. They may, as a result of the above actions, see you as offering them more value, they may like the fact that your product …

30 things likeable brands do

30 things likeable brands do

Being likeable is not about being liked by everyone. Likeable brands actually need to be very clear about who likes them and why and how they need to behave in order to continue to appeal to their community. 10 ways to build a truly likeable brand states the principles of likeability and is one of my most popular posts. As a companion piece, here’s my 30 point action list on how brands should systematically accumulate likeability. Order can vary.

Story myths

Great brands have great stories. But a great story doesn’t automatically create a great brand. For years we’ve told ourselves a story about what story is and how it works: develop a product; build a story around that product to give it value; sell that product at a greater degree of profit. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that stories are the lynchpin of competition and that the best storytellers will win. But that in itself is a myth. Ultimately consumers don’t buy a story. They listen to a story. They are influenced by a story. But what they buy is a truth that directs their behaviour, captured in a story. You don’t succeed just because you have a story. You succeed when you have a story that inspires people to buy your brand. The most beautiful, uplifting story in the world won’t cut it commercially if it doesn’t achieve competitive connection – if it doesn’t provide customers with reasons to connect with your brand at the expense of someone else’s. Stories may influence behaviours. But …

Does my brand look big in this?

As marketers, we’re often encouraged to puff up our brands to look as big as possible so that they appear significant and credible in a global marketplace. There’s a sense that if you’re big, you must be successful and if you’re successful, then there’s a higher than likely chance that you’ll continue to grow. Size matters. But not always in the senses that we have been led to believe. My own view is that the size of your business is actually less critical than the scale and/or extent of your thinking. A big brand on the hoof is a thing of beauty, to be sure. Strong, assured, competitive, resourced and focused on bringing its vision of the future to life. Big brands command presence and respect. But the biggest companies aren’t always the smartest, they’re not always the pace setters and they’re certainly not infallible even though they might like to think they are. I have only to direct attention to the GFC to remind all of us that neither history nor size counts as …

Brand dynamics: the shapeshifting of brand likeability

Our traditional view of product preference has for many years mirrored our view of markets. A bell curve, where products rise in popularity over time, sustain leadership through a period of maturity and then decline or are overtaken by another bell-curve driven by product development that supersedes the declining model and looks to take it to new heights. That model’s driving dynamic is demand. Its chief metric is volume. And its key pressure is time. The longer you can draw out that curve, and the more you can slow down the roll at the peak of the curve the more likely you are to make money. Recently, two separate pieces of thinking have caused me to believe that this likeability model is now as good as dead. Firstly, two thoughts from a really fantastic guest post by J Walker Smith at the ever-inspiring Brand Strategy Insider: “With social engagement more prevalent and more powerful, every marketing message is now subject to vetting by a crowd. No message finds its way to consumers absent the influence …