“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds”. So said Saint Basil.
Not necessarily a sentiment shared by all marketers. It has been said before that many believe a brand is known by its logo and theme line. That’s it. Spending considerable time and money developing these, actually rather superficial things and regarding this as ‘job done’ is of course both wrong and lazy.
Abrogating the responsibility for the well-being of a brand to a symbol and a phrase is extremely short-sighted. Actions, as they say, speak louder than words. And, as I have said myself many times; ‘God never said there should be a theme line’. A brand is bigger and must have more depth than that. The best marketeers understand that apart from all the advertising, the social networking, the fierce PR activity, a brand is known by the quality of its performance. Take Apple where, as a brand, it is defined by the products themselves; constant innovation, upgrading and so on; if anything Apple’s actual advertising output could even be described as lacklustre. One could describe this critical aspect of the deeper brand value as its ‘brand culture’.
Let me explain further using a comparison.
Take P&G and Unilever two rather large and successful detergent companies both with quite different brand cultures. Unilever, historically have developed a product; a shampoo or a soap, and built it up to be a brand leader and having done so they then take that brand franchise and create brand extensions. They did this with Lux; originally a bar of soap; built very excellently as the ‘Soap of the Stars’.
But then they produced a Lux Shower gel, a face wash, a shampoo etc. All, apparently benefitting from the ‘star’ brand stance. Unilever’s brand, Timotei, began life as a shampoo (it miraculously became the number one shampoo in Japan for a while). A product benefitting from magical herbs as used by Scandinavian ladies who washed their hair in mountain streams.
But then Timotei became a shower gel, a bath foam, a soap etc. All these products being similarly very Scandinavian and herby. (They even suggested a Timotei toothpaste at one stage; not realising that the thought of putting a shampoo brand into your mouth is disgusting! But that’s another story).
More recently they have gone through the same process with the Dove brand; centred on naturalness of ingredients and the principal that beauty is a distraction, if not a venal sin, to the modern woman. (The polar opposite to ‘The Soap of the Stars’ in fact.) And again, true to form, there were multiple variations which, in all honesty I can’t recall. Wherein lies the small problem…….
Paul Loosley is an English person who has been in Asia 38 years, 12 as a Creative Director, 20 making TV commercials. And in recent years, a brand consultant. And still, for some strange reason, he can’t shut-up about advertising. Any feedback; mail [email protected] (please keep it deep)
To read the full article next read MARKETING Magazine’s September-October issue.
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