Dove’s immensely viewed ‘Real Beauty’ video has sparked a parody and many debates including how the content would (or would not) help sales. But what it actually reminded me of was a quote attributed to Marty Neumeier (via)
Brand isn’t what you say about your product, it’s what other people say about your product.
A little reminder that the marketer’s best attempts at defining the user’s perceptions have a chance of failing, especially in the era when everyone is a publisher. Sometime back, I’d read a post on Smashing Magazine which argued that the traditional way of brand building – repetition and consistency – applicable in a time when media options were limited, needs to give way to a playful, adaptive brand that is flexible while keeping intact the core principles. (Oreo is one of the better examples here) It defines the brand as an ecosystem of interactions that embraces different platforms, co-creation with customers and proposes a very interesting method to achieve this – apply the concept of ‘minimum viable product‘ to brand design.
On another front, it was heartening to read that at least some feel that venture capital needs to get serious about brand thinking. Though not in so many words, this post is also in alignment with the concept of brand as an ecosystem and gives several good examples of brands earning the trust of users as well as going beyond their products and services in the positioning. This post uses the phrase ‘Clean Slate Brands‘ to describe new, unknown brands who are using better products/services, radical transparency and ‘open operations’ to compete with, and beat more ‘revered’ brands. (follow the link for examples)
But what happens to established brands? How do they redefine themselves to be relevant in this changing scenario? This led me to think about Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. Do you think that the traditional form of brand building and communication focused on the bottom 2 sections – Physiological, Safety? As products and services become more efficient courtesy technological advances, and functionality becomes a given as opposed to a value proposition, should brand design as a science (and brands that have thus far used the traditional method) realign to focus on the top 3 sections – Love/Belonging, Esteem, and Self Actualisation? Think about the cola giants – from thirst to happiness (Coke) and Empathy (Pepsi Refresh) is that what they have been doing?
until next time, a brand’s new story