These are uncertain times, but our Head of Brand Strategy and Insight Katie Vickery urges you to be brave when it comes to your marketing. It’s time to grasp the nettle and show everyone what you’re made of.
Greg Bryant, our Lead Creative, and I recently attended a talk at the Museum of Brands with Martin Lambie-Narin, a designer turned brand strategist who has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands over the years in helping them to develop their brands. The one that stuck out most to me was O2, who were taking a leap of faith in moving away from BT Cellnet. The brand essence for the yet unnamed brand was ‘Essential for Life’ and hence ‘O2’ was born. Just before the new brand name launched, an article was published in the Financial Times, citing the new name as a ridiculous and disastrous idea. Thankfully, one of the 15 O2 board members stood up against the criticism and the new O2 brand was launched.
This really struck me as something very appropriate in today’s climate. We live in very uncertain times and marketeers all over the world are facing difficult decisions. Marketeers are constantly being challenged to demonstrate return on investment and sometimes this is really hard to quantify – it’s the classic soft versus hard metric debate.
When we develop brands at Mobas, we understand that this is actually a very emotional journey and despite the research and brand strategy to help businesses make informed decisions about their brand name, it can feel very daunting. When Greg and I were talking after the presentation, he said that clients should have an element of fear when working on their brands. If not, then why change or progress them in the first place? Fear is a good thing: it means that real change is happening and agencies should be challenging their clients to this degree. Choosing a brand name can be hard and with so many stakeholders and such a subjective subject it can be hard to land on a name that pleases everyone. But, as with any marketing activity, think about your audiences and what feels right for your brand – this is not an ego inflation exercise, but an exercise in demonstrating who you are and what you’re all about as a business.
It’s not just brand naming where we need to be brave. For me, it’s less about getting your audiences’ attention with your marketing – if you know how to use social media channels and how to boost content then it’s quite simple – but it’s about how to keep your audience’s attention. As consumers, we’re so used to scrolling through online content, deciding within a nano-second whether content is right for us or not before moving swiftly onto the next thing.
If we want to grab and keep our audience’s attention and engage them in what we’re saying, we need to be bold and we need to be brave. We need to show them our point of difference and what makes us unique. Only then will they give us the time of day to listen to what we’ve got to say.