grahamdbrown.com http://www.grahamdbrown.com/fans-dont-love-brands-they-love-what-brands-do-for-them/
gbrown
Fans don’t lo...
The Red Bull of Its Day
Think of Ovaltine as the Red Bull of its day.
Rather than sponsor Formula 1 racing or organize spa...
Now imagine Little Ralphie’s emotions when he reads out the secret message. It doesn’t reveal any of the above
but, instea...
Inside, because the DNA of any great brand is “what brands do for them”. Great brands work hard to make that
promise core ...
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(GrahamDBrown.com) Fans don't love brands, they love what brands do for them

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Apple, Red Bull, Lego, Justin Bieber… how can you create a brand that has this kind of emotional appeal?

The answer doesn’t lie in your products or your ad campaigns but in understanding how you create a social, emotional connection. You have to mean something in their lives. It’s brands that keep this understanding at the core of their daily practice that grow long term. And it’s the brands that forget, get lazy, cut corners that fail.

http://www.GrahamDBrown.com

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(GrahamDBrown.com) Fans don't love brands, they love what brands do for them

  1. 1. grahamdbrown.com http://www.grahamdbrown.com/fans-dont-love-brands-they-love-what-brands-do-for-them/ gbrown Fans don’t love brands, they love what brands do for them What is Emotional Branding? By: John Christian Fjellestad Apple, Red Bull, Lego, Justin Bieber… how can you create a brand that has this kind of emotional appeal? The answer doesn’t lie in your products or your ad campaigns but in understanding how you create a social, emotional connection. You have to mean something in their lives. It’s brands that keep this understanding at the core of their daily practice that grow long term. And it’s the brands that forget, get lazy, cut corners that fail. Enter Little Ralphie Little Ralphie has waited all his life for this moment. He opens the mail package containing a secret decoder and gets to work. Little Ralphie decodes each character of the code he wrote down listening to the Orphan Annie radio show. He reveals the hidden message. It’s a scene from the movie “A Christmas Story”. It’s also one that reveals a little about how marketing has changed and a lot about how brands fail to change with the times. Little Ralphie is a brand fan. He’s coerced his mom into buying dozens of jars of the energy drink Ovaltine. He drank gallons of it, morning, lunch, evening. You might not know much about the milk-powdered Ovaltine today. But, back then in the 1940s and 1950s, Ovaltine was big all over America and Europe.
  2. 2. The Red Bull of Its Day Think of Ovaltine as the Red Bull of its day. Rather than sponsor Formula 1 racing or organize space jumps like Red Bull does today, Ovaltine built its own community and brand experience. The Orphan Annie radio show debuted in 1931. It was the world’s first regular mass-media broadcast aimed at younger listeners. It was an era when children came knocking from down the street just to sit and crowd round the wireless set. They’d listen to a 15 minute show bookended by 3 minute sales pitches about Ovaltine. The announcer pushed Ovaltine merchandise and, of course, the Radio Orphan Annie’s Secret Society. It was the golden age of radio serials and the beginning of mass marketing as we know it today. Ovaltine saw the opportunity early. They were one of the first brand to move advertising on from simple product pitches “the feeling of Pears Soap on your skin” to community building using mass media. Within weeks of sponsoring Little Orphan Annie, their marketing department was flooded with requests for badges, pins and decoders. New Media Favors the Bold At first, the mindset shift was a challenge. Old fashioned management questioned the need to pile resources into this new marketing. Why hire envelope openers responding to requests for badges, books and club song lyrics? Old fashioned management wanted to spend the money on ad copy and print. But the move paid off. Traditional Ovaltine marketing touted the virtues of product features. It was a drink “for the sake of your health, your nerves and particularly your appearance”. With their investment in radio, Ovaltine elevated its appeal to something intangible and lasting. By creating an opportunity to belong, Ovaltine created a connection. Great Brands Create Emotional Connection It’s a connection that went beyond the features of the product itself to a new level of emotional benefit. Buyers turned into customers and customers into fans. Ovaltine created excitement and anticipation. Fans sat at their school desks daydreaming of the next installment of Little Orphan Annie. Fans sat in their bedroom working on that afternoon’s secret code reveal. Ovaltine fans like Little Ralphie tuned in every week. They talked about the brand at school. There are no official records of numbers, but experts estimate Ovaltine club membership to be in the millions. In the UK alone, there were an estimated 5 million British club members – almost 30% of the youth population at the time. How Great Brands Fail So what went wrong? Today, Ovaltine is an obscure European brand (from Switzerland). If known at all, it’s for sleepy bedtimes. From curating millions of Fans, how did Ovaltine disappear into branding oblivion? How can the brand that was once the official drink of the 1948 Olympic Games and the first successful attempt on Everest in 1953 be now a brand more likely drunk by your grandma? The story of Ovaltine is the story of almost every brand. Imagine the emotions of Little Ralphie when he decodes the final letters of his secret message? What will it bring? A new mystery? A clue to a hidden location? The identities of the villains revealed?
  3. 3. Now imagine Little Ralphie’s emotions when he reads out the secret message. It doesn’t reveal any of the above but, instead, a reminder to “Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine.” When Brands Cut Corners Ovaltine got greedy. Marketing execs felt the pinch of next quarter’s sales figures. “Maybe we can use this month’s secret message to sell just a little more. It won’t hurt. We have millions of fans.” But it does hurt. Brands forget about why their fans love them in the first place. Fans don’t love brands, they love what brands do for them. Easy to forget when you’re riding high. If a brand can create an emotion, a feeling of belonging or importance, fans feel all kinds of emotions. Fans experience loyalty and anticipation. But if brands forget, cut corners, become short-term focused, they stand to lose everything. In 2 generations, a brand can fall from grace. From the highest peaks of Everest to the sleepiest avenues of surburbia. Victims of Their Own Success Most brands fail because they are victims of their own success. Brands discover a formula that works. They grow, hiring new staff along the way. But, more often than not, the new staff aren’t able to connect with that original formula. They don’t understand why the brand is growing, they see only numbers. They don’t need to know, the brand has the midas touch. With millions of fans, employees feel they have a license to do cut corners and get lazy. In time, employees forget that formula. Brands love what brands do for them. Brands lose their way. In a desperate bid to stay on top they throw money at outsourced creative and design agencies with their fantastic pitches. They forget what they once did for their fans. Within a generation they disappear. Is Brand Failure Inevitable? I write almost every brand because failure is not an inevitable part of every brand’s lifecycle. Ovaltine failed because it behaved like most brands. But you don’t have to. You can stay relevant by staying close to your fans and that starts by creating a culture that puts fans, not short term sales, first. Apple, Lego, South West Airline and Monster Energy drinks are all category leaders. They all lead their categories in customer loyalty and employee happiness. They all invest in their resources in the long term. They favor customer experience over advertising. They all faced stiff competition from well entrenched incumbents but won their market one customer at a time. They all work with their fans at the frontline. They all remember the formula that made them successful. Great Brands Start Inside the Business Doing common things uncommonly well means remembering Little Ralphie as a fan with his own story, and that starts inside the business.
  4. 4. Inside, because the DNA of any great brand is “what brands do for them”. Great brands work hard to make that promise core to everything they do – from hiring people who “get it”, to creating a culture that encourages people to get out there and connect with fans. Outside – creative agencies, campaigns and celebrities. Inside – the culture you create, the people you hire and the metrics you use. You see, great marketing is not the result of great strategy but of great people. Get the people right and your brand, marketing and experience will fall into place.

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