Once Upon A Time: Brands That Told A Tale


OnceUponATimeBrands typically launch a number of products during the course of their lives.  Needless to say a large number of them are supported with campaigns.  The products of course could be variants, new products or another category under the same mother brand.

Now when brands are creating communication for any campaign they go to great lengths to ensure all the varied pieces straddled across time and media come together to create one beautiful picture and deliver the brand message to the target consumer.

SignalDecayAt this juncture I shall introduce a concept from physics called decay.  Explained in layman terms, it refers to the behaviour of a signal for convenience say sound. A signal that is generated does not have a sudden death once the broadcast ceases, it remains alive gradually losing intensity over time (refer figure).

What does that have to do with our discussion? Well if we were to juxtapose the logic to communication that brands send out.  We could argue that long after the campaign has stopped there is still bound to be a residue of that communication. Perhaps the reason why brands remain in the collective memory if not the collective consciousness. It is this residue that feeds brands long after they are gone. Going a step forward it is this that makes it a challenge when brands want to reposition themselves.

Now unless a brand wants to replace a new message with an existing one communication residues are something that can be used to a brands advantage. They can well serve as a springboard for your next and then your next communication. The caveat is congruence.

There aren’t many, but there are enough examples of brands that have leveraged “ad memory” and built on it.  The subconscious mind stores a plethora of messages only to draw them when triggered. Here’s an attempt to present a few.

The important aspect to note is that the brands took the story forward with each of these communications that were spread over time.  Some over a short time some over an extended period.  However, they all used a common thread to move their stories forward. Some depicted the progress of the protagonist made in life or love, others retained a core ingredient like an audio element, while some attired their central character in a certain way to show changing times. Regardless, they all took their messages deeper into the minds of their respective consumers.

At the end of the day all branding exercises are a battle for a space in the consumers mind, so why waste the space you already made!

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The Green Mile : Are Brands Walking the Talk?


Are Brands Walking the Talk?

Are Brands Walking the Talk?

When was the last time you paused to think of the environmental consequences of our actions? Wait. Did I just say environmental?  Right. Most of us find it hard to believe that the choices we make at an individual level as consumers are of any consequence to anyone else.   However, as marketers we have many a time attempted to speak to this very side of the consumer and awaken their conscience.  Green Marketing as it has come to be known has been around for quite a few years now.  Several brands have incorporated “green” into their scheme of things.  As the world environment day nears we shall yet again witness brands trying to associate with green in turn expecting consumers to associate with them/make the right choice.

The question that needs to be asked though is, “Has it had any impact?” How many brands reported back on the impact “the choice” really made in clear quantifiable terms?

It is tough for the cynic in many consumers to actually believe that the brands have their heart and soul in the causes they espouse. The responsibility of making the consumers believe in a purpose beyond the commercial lies with us marketers.  It is for us to not make the consumers think of them as “gimmicks”.  What good is a commitment that is doubted?

Several brands have in their own way communicated their “Green” intent.  Some have coaxed the customers to partake in their cause whilst others have demanded a premium on account of being green.  However, not all have done a good job of sustaining (pun unintended) the conversation.  The efforts by most brands have tended to be sporadic.  A TVC here, a print ad there and oh yes the digital led activation too!  In short the treatment has been that of a campaign.

One wonders whether these efforts are less owing to intent and more due to regulatory pressures.  Atleast as far as India is concerned there is the mandatory 2% CSR rule (not necessarily to be read as green initiatives though).  Are the brands then doing whatever it is they wanted to do in the first place and giving it the green tint? There are no easy answers for that one.  The day is not far away when organisation shall need to start reporting their carbon credits along with other financials.

In all fairness there are some brands that have visibly stuck to the task, brands that have integrated green into their way of working beyond product and design. Some are already putting these principle into practice whilst others are preparing to.  Some me that demonstrate sincerity and commitment while some smack of commercial opportunism with little follow up.  Here is an attempt to showcase some of those efforts that caught the author’s eye. Please judge for yourselves.

Nokia

More on Sustainability from Nokia

Toyota

Toyota NDTV Greenathon

GE

Killer Jeans

Minus One Project (Cheil/Samsung)

The Green Mile is a long arduous path, there unfortunately are no shortcuts.  Brands do not need necessarily turn crusaders, they have every right and responsibility to ensure profits for their stakeholders. Point is, once they signal intent they must walk the talk.