Posts Tagged: branding

Branding Brexit: the comms strategy failures around the EU referendum


By Sammy Mansourpour, Managing Director, AgencyUK

Nine minutes before Boris Johnson publicly declared which side he was backing in Britain’s referendum on membership of the European Union, he texted David Cameron to let him know – “Dave, I’m backing Brexit. Soz.” Or words to that effect. It was less than ten minutes before the media-at-large knew.

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Is it time to let consumers "Play the Brand"?

I remember having a telephone interview with a journalist from The Times a few years back, where I naively and rather over excitedly ranted on about mobile marketing, and a day when all Outdoor, Mobile and In-Store channels would be intrinsically linked, both creatively and promotionally. The idea was that the data held on individuals would be so vast that advertising would literally be tailored to their specific needs.

For example: Man likes coffee, walks past poster, it changes to reflect an ad for Starbucks, and an e-coupon is sent to his mobile as he walks past the coffee house. Bluetooth nailed it.

In my head, this was integration at its peak. The pure amalgamation of above the line creative with below the line tactical right through to a reflective in-store experience. Suffice to say that not one word was printed.

Today, this is less a reality, and more of a normality, and in truth a rather mundane solution. In fact the onset of Four Square and social media in general is far more sophisticated than anything I could have ever imagined.

This year we’ve seen some stand out campaigns. Magnum introduced a heavyweight ad campaign with Benicio Del Toro, then rolled it out beautifully with a viral that allowed you to paste your face into the dummy movie, as the hero. Jimmy Choo gave away shoes using Four Square and got people running all over London hoping to spot them. Marmite launched the Marmaritum, an elite group of Marmite die harders that hold a unique and extra powerful Marmite recipe.

What these campaigns and their integrated use of media has enabled brands to do is to successfully make them less about the brand and more about their customer. The term “living the brand” used to refer to companies and their staff. Perhaps today we should re-coin that phrase. It’s actually about “playing with the brand”, and all we’re doing is providing the ball. It’s the consumer that owns the game.

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Thought Leadership- PR’s Next Frontier

Converging forces are at work to revolutionize public relations as practiced in today’s social media landscape. Business now finds itself compelled to open new channels of communications in its’ quest to influence its’ publics and to establish a position of “thought leadership.” Thought leadership is rapidly emerging as the key to enhancing company, and entrepreneurial, credibility and to influence decision-makers in every field of endeavor.

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Next steps for Toyota?

There can be no greater threat to a brand than the possible chipping of the foundations upon which it has built its reputation.

In the case of Toyota, the quality of its product, the honesty of its claims, and continuous improvement are at its core, and the recent recalls could shake the bedrock of the brand.

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It’s a smaller world, but is it blander for it? By Rajnish Razdan, Creative Director, TheAgency

Whilst chatting with my cousin in India via Facebook, it struck me how social media sites are helping to merge cultural boundaries. At the expense of sounding like someone who never switches off, this got me thinking about its effects on marketing and creativity.

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Pharmaceutical branding – time for a wake up call?

The winds of change seem fairly constant in the pharmaceutical industry. Complex legislative and regulatory issues, increased competition, complex company structures, mergers and acquisitions all impact on business thinking and practice.

Add to this a certain cynicism about the sector and consumer concern about integrity, and you have a real need for a change in attitude to the brands themselves and the approach to communications.

Historically pharmaceutical brands have not really acted as ‘brands’ in the true FMCG sense of the word. An arrangement that, to a degree, has worked adequately within the industry, but it’s one that is being challenged by the business benefits increasingly accredited to brands and the power they wield with consumer relationships.

Many pharmaceutical brands have on the whole, evolved from an original, single, licensed product that has then become available for wider use. The result is brands and ’identities’ largely evolved from R&D departments and drug heritage without addressing the wider issues of consumer benefit, need fulfilment or increased consumer knowledge.

Without realising it much of the ‘brand’ communications is based on manufacturing and product led processes – from R&D to boardroom, from sales force to trade and from trade to consumer, an approach once seen in the automotive industry, who have now recognised the need to move from manufacturing led to brand led.

The need for change is also being driven by the multiple retailers, where dealing in brands is their currency – whatever the category. They are seeking strong brands that can compete, are understood by consumers and that can grow and extend.

In our work on pharmaceutical brands we have recognised that there is an historical shortfall that needs to be addressed when moving from OTC to brand. Afterall, a brand is more than a product in a box with a name on, however efficacious. A brand connects with a consumer or user on more levels than just product performance or even reputation. They connect with consumers by standing for something over and above what they do. They are distinctive, memorable and, most importantly, they represent a promise to the consumer and seem to tap into what consumers want from the brand in terms of their needs – even unspoken needs. In today’s world the strongest brands are now consumer driven. That’s not to say that consumers do it all for you, but in working with them you will build brands on more than product attributes.

Some pharmaceutical brands are there already of course and its easy to spot who is taking a brand approach and consequently taking the advantage. But how many pharmaceutical products have yet to establish a promise that is more than just a functional delivery and therefore able to map their real potential for future growth?

Once defined in this way, a brand can provide the tools and direction for a company to build on, through all its channels. It will provide the focus for future development and communications that are based on what consumers need rather than what companies can produce.

A simple brand health check can be employed:
– Understand your consumer
– Exploit your difference
– Define what your brand can stand for
– Deliver on more than just product attributes
– Map the future with a marriage of consumer and business viewpoints

A brand must be cohesive and understood right through the organisation. But once you are delivering on brand values rather than product attributes, your brands will undoubtedly be a greater asset. And an asset that will undoubtedly better meet the future challenges of a changing world.

Laura Haynes, Chairman at Appetite, a leading brand, communications and design agency.

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How can digital brands compete with heritage?

It starts with a little scamp in a flat cap purchasing a loaf of bread from a bakers. A near miss with a horse drawn cart and a healthy dose of sepia tells us we’re somewhere in Victorian England, and a midland dialect is thrown in to make us feel all warm inside. As the boy dashes home through the cobbled streets, loaf in arm, he dodges a march of suffragettes, salutes some First World War soldiers and skips past a Model T Ford. And so begins last year’s 122 second advert from Hovis, designed to chart how much Britain has changed since the company was founded, presumably in a bakery much like the one in the opening scene, 122 years ago.

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Crossing borders with email marketing

It really amazes me that there are still so many sloppy emailers that think they can apply the same strategy to their international campaigns as they do their UK campaigns, and use the same content and creative. Just last night I received an email from an Australian winter sports travel company telling me it was ‘dumping with snow and to come skiing this weekend’. It also thanked me for my previous booking OR enquiry. Firstly, they should know from their data capture form that I’m in the UK, where it’s not snowing (ok it might be raining constantly but it is our summer time), and popping off for a quick ski down under just isn’t feasible. And secondly, surely they should know if I’ve booked a trip with them before or if I’ve simply enquired with them so they can tailor the email accordingly?

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Farewell to the strangely familiar man in the mirror

Anyone old enough remembers where they were when they heard that Kennedy was assassinated. In 1977 I was in a coach car park when people shouted – literally wailed – over the death of Elvis Presley. I remember the assassination of Lennon, Kurt Cobain’s ‘official’ gunshot wound to the head and the loss of Freddie Mercury. Last week I first heard the rumours about Michael Jackson whilst watching TV. My fears were soon confirmed via my fellow lost souls on Twitter. At least for Presley, his family had the dignity of learning the news in private, before it being announced to the global plebs by a local celebrity gossip website.

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