Mike Monello, Campfire’s Chief Creative Officer, challenges brands to offer bigger thinking in their branding efforts in this recent piece featured on AdAge.
In advertising we toss the word “brand” around quite frequently. But have you noticed we usually default to the noun form of the word?
This may not appear to be a big deal, but let’s take a moment to walk through the implications: This is a word that used to mean searing a mark into the hide of our property. It’s now been reduced to a set of graphic standards and a tagline. The force of action has been replaced with a static identity.
The noun form of “brand” isn’t enough to really move people — it just doesn’t bring the brand to life in a way that inspires customer action.
Why does this matter? Mainly because not every brand has a differentiated story or the advantage of an HBO, with unique programming and great, shareable stories to tell. Sometimes you’re just a consumer-packaged-goods company. And while dog-food makers and soda bottlers can mix the formula a bit and offer new innovations, the only truly differentiating element for these companies is the customer’s experience with the product. Given this reality, the noun form of “brand” isn’t enough to really move people — it just doesn’t bring the brand to life in a way that inspires customer action.
To meet this challenge, ad execs would make up a marketing story and call it “branding.” “Brand fiction” is a superb technique for creating emotional, shareable connections to an unemotional product like laundry soap. But it can become problematic when it’s only a marketing message. Today’s networked consumer has amplification, credibility and influence. And when they complain about a disconnect between what a brand is saying and what they are doing, it impacts effectiveness. If a brand story really is just fiction, consumers will more than likely uncover it en masse and penalize you for it… .