When you think of a brand, what comes to mind? Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Intel, Orange? These brands have presence and strong brand values which means that they succeed in cutting through the noise and getting their message out to their audiences, and the main reason is likely to be excellent branding.
Businesses invest a lot of time and money getting a brand into the public domain, and getting it talked about can be difficult. Advertising (and a lot of it) is the best way for your brand to get out there, mixed with some great PR, sponsorship and of course great products or services. Big organisations such as McDonalds and Coca-Cola have huge budgets and advertise and sponsor everywhere and therefore have a big brand presence. But, money doesn’t have to be the only way to get your brand message out there.
Doing something different is a way to cut through the noise if you don’t have big budgets, we for example undertook a controversial campaign in early 2012 which sparked some controversy with minority groups as we launched our ‘more sense than money’ campaign, in which an archaic businessman referred to ‘liking his truffles white, his coats mink and his secretaries Swedish’, the polar opposite to the values of Powwownow, where the service is free, simple and easy to use. And again at the moment, we are causing a stir, with our Cecil Goldwell character again, as we cut through the advertising noise and get our message out to the masses.
So does brand message have to be positive? Take Kate Moss and Rimmel or Blackberry and the technical failure in 2011. Do these ‘blips’ of brand have a real effect on sales? Well we can’t say for certain, but we can’t see that people stopped buying Rimmel just because Kate Moss had a cocaine habit, and those that had blackberries were probably frustrated, but are the thousands of businesses that use them likely to convert to Apple? A small percentage might have, but I doubt it had that big an effect on their business projections.
Getting someone to like your brand is the hard part; but once they do it is unlikely that they will ever leave your side. When you think of Apple, you think of innovation, forward thinking, great products, great technology and the company that will drive our future technological development, and yet no one remembers the debacle with the iPhone4 when you lost signal when you held the phone with your left hand or the battery life problems with the 4s. That is the great power of brands, the good will always outweigh the bad.
Brands thrive when they have brand advocates, Apple has thousands, but even without having thousands as a small business, it is about finding that small group that LOVE your brand and rave about it, tap into them and use them to your best advantage. Whether that be through social channels or through testimonials, case studies or simply word of worth – get them talking about your brand, reaffirming you as ‘the brand to go to’ in your sector, mix in your online branding with your offline branding and there is a winning formula to develop your business presence and build your brand.
The brands that do well, seem to be those that never settle, that are constantly on the lookout for the next idea to develop and move their brand forward, getting brand advocates and always being forward thinking should set your brand in good stead.