Posts tagged ‘branding’

Stop branding start participating?

In his coverage of Renny Gleeson of W+K, entitled “Stop branding start participating,” Rich Cherecwich quotes

“Agencies are built to make ads, not come up with marketing solutions and solve problems,” he said. “Marketing teams are built to approve ads, and publishers are trying to sell eyeballs, but what they need to sell is relevance.

and, citing social media as a way to deliver relevance:

In the search for the shared experience, brands have an incredible role to play,” Gleeson said. “They’ve always been the glue that binds. Now they have the opportunity to be the glue and part of the shared experience for the people who buy them.

How very true. Many, including us have said similar things. “The brand era is over, it’s the people era.” and “Acts, not ads!” are Leo Burnett mantras.  However, concerning the headline “stop branding”: really?

Before looking at Social Media as a solution to make brands relevant again (which it can be), I wonder why agencies and brands have had a hard time reinventing themselves.  Because I believe, regardless of what tools (such as social media) you are using, it will be a crap-shoot in terms of relevance for your brand, until brands and agencies have consummated and internalized one very basic mindset shift. It’s not so much about having to “stop branding” and “to start participating”, but it’s more like:

In the people era, it’s about doing something that makes a qualitative difference in people’s lives, not just saying something. Because delivering deeds and experiences that make a qualitative difference (however big or small), is branding for the people era.

Yet, agencies and brands haven’t adapted their business models and “creative delivery systems” to actually be doing something  instead of just messaging. And to top it off, even when they are doing something, it is usually so brand-centered, that it becomes a backfiring farce.  There are many such examples of brave attempts by brands and agencies to use “innovative” digital channels, such as social media, in the hopes that it will engage people with their brands again. The ones that happen to work, we all hear about. But there are many more attempts we don’t hear about. Why don’ t they work? Because moving to the people era doesn’t just mean picking the digital channel du jour, and applying your brand message.  Fact is, agencies and brands that have not internalized what their brand can mean in the people era, and will continue to try to use channels to force-feed their brand message. Brands are so used to being the sender of a message, that they don’t know how to let people message for them, but that’s what the ultimate consequence of the people era is. This is what Gleeson refers to when he says, “what brands need to do is grow the campaign out of an existing community, rather than simply drop it on top of a community.” 

So I agree that brands and agencies need to reinvent themselves. But it’s a shift that needs to happen, not a replacement of things.

  • Brand era SHIFTS TO People era
  • Doing things to people SHIFTS to doing things with people
  • Brand message SHIFTS to Brand experience
  • Reason to Believe SHIFTS to Reason to Interact
  • Single-minded propositions SHIFT to allowing fragmented, multi-faceted experiences 
  • Branding SHIFTS to delivering experiences that make a qualitative difference
  • Creativity in formulating messaging SHIFTS TO Creativity in designing experiences 
  • Brand Metrics SHIFTS TO People Metrics
  • Consumer Insight SHIFTS TO Behavioral Insight

So, in summary, yes, stop branding the old way but start branding with an understanding of shifting brands into the people age. Only with that in mind, social media and other digital channels, as well as the traditional channels can serve purposeful strategies that are not left up to luck to succeed.

February 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm 3 comments

Rant on ill-fated Rebranding spots

Ok, it looks like I dissent with the blogosphere about ads these days.

Number 1:

I liked the Jerry Seinfeld / Bill Gates spots, and everyone else seemed to hate it. I liked it regardless of the weird rapport between Gates and Seinfeld (Seinfeld never has a rapport with people/charcters, that his shtick!) because finally it was a spot that wasn’t dictated on Apple’s terms, and Microsoft came across was self-confident, yet self-ironic, quirky. Ok, it didn’t change brand perception all that much. Hello? you cant change brand perception in  2 weeks, and you certainly cant do it with ads, anyhow.

Number 2:

Now everyone says the Microsoft sequel spot is much better and I hate it. Again, it starts with an Apple lookalike actor, then everyone says “I am a PC”… Booooooring AND dumb. Boring because you hear the same line from different faces a gazillion times and dumb because: people aren’t friggin PCs. But the real doozie for the brand that has 97% of market share against Apple is: the whole thing is an ANSWER to Apple’s idea, so again, Microsoft looks like a defensive, insecure dufus without self-confidence having to reference a brand that, well, is just cooler. Microsoft owns the market and still feels like it has to come out with a justification and reason for being against Apple? Hello?

Number 3:

Okay, and now everyone is all over the Tina Fey / Scorcese spot for AMEX. Ok, I love that spot too. Really do. You know why? Because, surpriiiiise, like everyone else, I love Martin Scorcese, plus it’s a great continuation of the first spot.

I just wonder: what the hell does it do for the brand?

Thanks AMEX for entertaining me for a couple of seconds. How does it feel paying millions for making Martin even more popular? Geez, you watch that spot, and think: Scorcese is a bigger brand than AMEX. It’s so ill-matched. Also, it’s a non-sequitur par excellence. He sells a timeshare and then it’s about travel advice?

September 25, 2008 at 11:13 am 1 comment


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