Is there ever a right time to get on the front foot and call out your competitors by name? Motorola seems to think so.
Often, when people in agencies talk about brand strategy, what they are meaning is the thinking that has led to the work they have been doing on the brand. That’s not brand strategy.
Any brand manager worth their salt is looking to cultivate and manage a brand that is noticed and valued. But how far should a brand go in that quest for distinctiveness? Interestingly, the answer doesn’t just come down to taste.
Marketers love what they do and with good reason. It’s exciting, stimulating and inspiring to work on a great brand. But the rise of ad-blockers proves something no-one wants to admit. Brands are failing to maintain interest. Consumers want out of the messaging. Literally.
If your goal is to get people talking and you deliver thought-provoking advertising and that happens, then you have succeeded. Controversy often works if you’re a challenger brand trying to upset a rival; if you’re a NGO trying to incite action; if you share opinions with your customers and you choose to share those opinions with the world; if you want to poke fun at something that runs contrary to your brand’s values and purpose. There are times, and subjects, where that approach works just fine. You may shock some. But you will reach and appeal to the people who believe in your brand, what it stands for and what it challenges.
I’m intrigued by the number of people who insist they don’t believe in marketing, that no-one takes any notice of it and that they don’t have time to engage with brands. Until … they have something they want to tell the world. Then, suddenly, marketing – specifically their marketing – is interesting, exciting and something they know will work once they reach people. “Everyone will want to hear.”
A number of years ago, Stephen Dubner asked which industry makes the most misleading ads? His personal opinion was the companies that advertise closets. As he says, they always seem to be pieces of furniture that are bathed in sunlight, and that are owned by people who have three pairs of identical and very clean pants or skirts, but never anything unshapely like an accordion, or hockey stick.