When we think about brands being brave, we naturally tend to think about brands being outrageous, or being ‘in your face’. And yes, this is often true. When a brand is loud and proud, or loud and brash, we remember them. But are we remembering them and becoming advocates or users of those brands? Or are we simply remembering them for being loud? My point is, being loud only works if that’s what the audience wants or expects of that particular brand.
It’s important to remember that being brave doesn’t necessarily mean being loud. A brand’s personality is like a person’s personality. It can flex and adapt, but ultimately it remains the same at its core. If it doesn’t it becomes unnerving, confusing or even untrustworthy to its customers.
So, when we talk about being brave as a brand, it’s important to define what brave actually means. A brand should be looking to stand out in ITS crowd, not THE crowd. Be brave in its own sector. There’s no point trying to create a brand, or identity that’s trying to be braver or louder than a brand in a totally different marketplace or a brand targeting a totally different audience. If that happens, it will be appealing to that particular audience who may have no interest in what that brand is doing or selling.
A successful brand should be thinking about its audience and its landscape. It should then be brave in that space. If that means being loud and bold is right, then perfect. Do it. If it means it needs to be intelligent and clever, then it should be intelligent and clever. The important thing is that it appeals to its audience and makes itself the most attractive option to that audience. Couple that with remaining true to the brand’s personality and it’s more likely to succeed.
Each year the Marketing Society shortlist ten brands who it evaluates have been brave in their marketing and branding output. While the list often features brands everyone naturally thinks of, it often includes one of two that may surprise you.
Remember, loud isn’t brave, it’s just loud. Brave is stepping outside the comfort zone to push the brand further, to try things that haven’t been tried. Brave is leading and being unique, not following trends. Brave doesn’t have to be loud, it just needs to resonate with the audience. They need to be surprised and excited by what’s happening, not shocked that that particular brand is doing it.
Brands have to be creative in their bravery, be true to who they are but still surprise and excite. Get that formula right, and they’re onto a winner.