January 21, 2013
Something beautiful is happening.
As the world gets smaller through the development of social technology, humanity has never been so connected. As a result, the ‘powers that be’ who once stood on a distant stage with a megaphone are now ever so close.
The stage is gone.
We are all equals now.
All performing on the same stage.
All within one tweet of one another.
We’ve gone full cycle - we’re back to our roots.
This change is crucial. I would go as far as to say it is pivotal. The stage that brands once stood on is gone. Wether they like it or not. Brands have two crucial choices here - fight to keep the stage in place or participate in removing it.
I believe the brands that are going to grow and endure this next decade will be the ones that embrace the demand for transparency and actively live in the grassroots with their fans. The brands that really get it will no longer use alienating words: fans, customers, followers. They’ll simply be ‘friends’.
One question we can use to direct us is this:
“How can we be true?”
It’s often said that it’s easy to adapt to something like this when you’re small and versatile but not so much when you’re big and established. While this may be true, there are certain trends that every brand must adapt to and we believe this is one.
Thankfully, we have some pioneers who are already on top of this. Let’s look at one medium sized brand and one super-sized -
Patagonia identified its brand as eco-friendly but realised that convincing customers to buy new jackets year after year went against that belief. There was something missing. They weren’t being true. So they fixed it.
Patagonia made a radical change in order to be true and, during the peak buying season this Christmas, encouraged customers not to buy new products. They instead encouraged customers to reconsider if they really needed it and to search on eBay if they did. While this likely hurt Patagonia’s immediate financial goals, it brought loyalty and built lasting relationships with it’s ‘friends’.
No, I’m not joking. Nike, wether they were forced to or not, are making serious headway to changing their image from a ‘holier than thou’, ‘you can’t touch me’ brand to an authentic, grass roots brand that care about being true to their values. Nike makes its mission “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”. The free Nike Training Club mobile app and the Nike+ Running app are the perfect example of this, merging technological innovations with healthy activities to inspire customers. Apps do not directly benefit the company’s financial growth as they are majorly free but they certainly make up for it in brand value and loyalty.
This road to transparency and authenticity isn’t an easy path to take and many will find the change a struggle. Fortunately, it’s the only way companies wanting to endure are going to survive the overpowering voice of the consumer.
Here’s to transparency and to a new era of branding.
Start with Why?
August 24, 2012
We've been reading Simon Sinek's book - Start with Why here at Born. Inspiring stuff.
Sometimes we struggle to explain to clients what it is we do. Sometimes we can't even explain it to ourselves!
In his TED Talk, Simon explains it well. Branding isn't about the typeface, the colour scheme, the curves and spikes. It's about the brand essence. We've decided to call it the Soul.
The Brand Soul is everything. Without this properly explored, refined, definied, refined again and defined again a brand will always produce inconsistency and a loose vision.
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
We probably over use the word insight here at Born but our business practice is truly built upon these. Without insights into the market we're aiming for, the customer we want to connect with, how will we be able to work out 'why' they pick us. I guess when you look at it that way, any brand built without asking 'why?' is doomed to a re-design within 3 years.
Thanks Simon. Keep inspiring.
September 09, 2011
With the imminent launch of littlemonster.com; Lady Gaga’s own social network for fans, we consider what brand owners can learn from the diva.
Lady Gaga has sold over 22 million albums and 69 million singles, is on Time Magazine’s list of most Powerful Women and has grossed $170 million in 1 year.
We have summarized the top three drivers of Gaga brand fame - enjoy!:
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta she has assumed a new identity that commands attention and comes with a clear set of values and attributes. This authentic and potent self-definition; in her own words “You have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way”, ensures Gaga is the master of her brand image.
To keep control of your brand's image with social media domination, brands need to be braver, stronger and truer in building a brand positioning that is understood, embraced, reinforced and capable of reinvention.
2. Bring the Experiences
Lady Gaga is a sorcerer of surrealism. Think 2011 Grammys when she paraded down the red carpet in an egg, which hatched on stage, as she emerged, launching into a spectacular version of 'Born This Way'. This is how she tells her story and weaves her spell like no other.
Brand experiences should tell a story, make connections and appeal to the senses. The most powerful brands create experiences paying attention to every little detail, just like Lady Gaga.
3. Foster community
Lady Gaga calls her community her “Little Monsters.” and has even written a manifesto and created an app for them. Her website features a wiki-style blog, Gagapedia, which features nearly 2,000 pages of content she and her Little Monsters have created. She is a master in developing fans into evangelists.
Successful brands need to develop relationships that are personal, and ideally feel exclusive. Building a community of interest creates buzz and energy around your brand.
Fostering A Brand Community Of Interest
May 30, 2011
This Bloomsday, Ulysses Meets Twitter 2011 on the (@11ysses account) will see devotees of the approximately 265,000-word work recast the novel through tweets from start to finish within the 24-hour period that the novel’s odyssey through Dublin (on June 16, 1904) takes place.
In building a global volunteer army to translate this voluminous stream of consciousness onto the 140-character template, social media is supporting the democratisation of this literary masterpiece by bringing it to a new generation, which may lead an audience back to the full manuscript.
For brand owners it demonstrates the power of building a community of interest around a theme that is personal and important to your consumers. Consider how your brand adds value to the culture it lives in? Look to deliver real value not just doing something for the sake of it.
The T-Mobile Royal Wedding
April 22, 2011
Saatchi & Saatchi’s latest opus for T-Mobile’s ‘life’s for sharing’ campaign, entitled ‘one’s life’s for sharing,’ is a very sweet parody on the royal wedding that has reached nearly 9 million hits on youtube. It bears strong resemblance to the famous ‘JK Wedding Entrance Dance’ of 2009 and we assume the brand was inspired by popular culture.