Skip to main content

To love is to let go

If you are controlling your brand, you are already behind.

In today’s shared economy, people create and share content faster and more authentically than companies.  So, why don’t most of us allow our customers to own and tell our stories? Why don’t we let go of our brands?

Is it the risk? As marketers, we are control freaks:  We want to protect our brand. In the name of consistency, we try to control every touch point from defining the message to dictating timing and channels. It’s like being in a one-way relationship with a control freak. “Human”? Maybe. Desirable? No.  

While this approach may have had its merits, it is not in tune with today’s reality.  People care about people, not products or features.  They don’t want to be told a story; they want a story to tell, and they want to tell it on their own terms.

If you look at the brands (e.g., Coke, Heineken, Patagonia, McDonalds, Lego, Red Bull, BuzzFeed…) that are thriving in this new reality, they share a common trait: they are live brands.  Not static or controlled brands. This means that they have a sense of purpose, they live in real time, and their stories are human, created and shared by people on their own terms.

In 2011, Coke rewrote its communication constitution to achieve its new ambition, to be the #1 in the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink business in every market, every category, by 2020. Big goals require big change. They new mantra “Liquid, Linked, &Liked, is about “creating ideas that are contagious so we actually lose control of where they go but directly linked to the values and objectives that matters to the brands,” according to Jonathan Mindenhall, VP of advertising strategy and Creative Excellence.

One of the most notable responses has been the “Share a Coke” campaign, which literally puts the brand in the hands of the consumers.


McDonald’s, a brand torn to bits in the media and in movies such as Supersize Me, Food Nation, and Food Inc, had a major quality perception problem. To address the problem, McDonald’s in Canada decided to open up by inviting people to ask questions about the food. Then, McDonald’s answered all the questions openly, honestly and in real-time, and posted the Q&A live for the world to see.  What started as a national campaign in Canada transformed the way that people around the world felt about McDonald’s.




In the lieu of sponsoring the US Open, Heineken decided to bring a little bit of the Arthur Ashe Stadium’s experience to Union Square.  They brought a tennis umpire chair to the square and asked bystanders to silence the crowd for two tickets to the US Open. The result: a marriage proposal. Check it out.




In summary, in today’s connected economy, the best Brands stay relevant by letting go. The more we try to control our brands, the less love they get.  That’s why to love is to let go.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Irrational Power of Nudge Brands

Nudge brands are brands built on interactions, not attitudes. They are mostly defined by experiences, not TV campaigns. They are designed around people's inconsistencies and errors, not for machines. They are simple, not complex. They like to break things into small chunks that are less daunting than big tasks. They focus on changing behavior, not generating awareness and interest. The Paris metro system card is a nudge brand. It is designed against human errors. You can use the card in any direction. IKEA is a nudge brand. It uses the power of personal investment. The more involved people are in creating something, the better they feel about the end product. Ryanair is a nudge brand. It chunks the whole purchase process. They lock you in with a low 'seat price' first to get a mental commitment. Then, they start to add the extra charges in bite-sized 'chunks.' Hare Krishna is a nudge brand. It is built on the reciprocity rule by giving away daisies. People should …

The Curse of Advertising Resources

With more platforms, more products and more content who are trying to reach a disengaged audience, it is becoming harder and harder for brands to stand out. Conventional practices are no longer working. People don't watch TV as much as they used to, so they don't see commercials.  They don't click on banner ads. They don't pay attention to billboards ads. And they don't trust brands' messages. Part of the problem is that we are too dependent on traditional ad resources, which limits the realm of our creativity. To thrive in this new environment, we, ironically, need the freedom of a tight brief: what can you do with no budget for mass media?  Or limited marketing communications dollars?  To make a comparison, traditional advertising is a lot like countries and economies that rely on oil. This reliance handicaps innovation. Countries with a vast amount of natural resources tend to have (1) less economic growth and (2) worse development rates than other countrie…

The Engineering of Digital Consent

Today, we build brands through social interactions. People opinions online shape our decisions on what brands should we buy or endorse. 90% of customers said that online reviews influence their buying decisions. Our challenge is that consumers don't pay attention and trust the message coming from brands. So, how do we affect the opinion of others in this environment? In marketing, we spend a lot of time and money creating advertising with the hope that it goes viral. However, most of the campaigns have little influence in today's consumers. Many campaigns have even the oppositive effect, with consumers sharing negative opinions or blocking advertising altogether. Changing behavior is hard. I don't think we have a silver bullet to influence people online, but we can learn best practices from behavioral science to increase our chances. Getting a little better in predicting behavior can make a big difference. Here are four behavioral principles that we should consider when c…