The folks at Coca Cola have been busy reinventing their model for brand communications.
If you watched Superbowl XLVI you probably saw the newest round of Polar Bear ads. What you may not have seen was the live-streamed “Polar Bowl” which viewers could visit during the game on their “second screen” (read iPad). The response was stunning – 9 million people tuned into this parallel, virtual world to watch animated polar bears reacting real-time to the game.
This is not a one-off deal. Coca Cola actually has a master plan to create a new model for brand building. It is grounded in the concept of “liquid content” – ideas that are so captivating, so provocative, so contagious they cannot be controlled. Ultimately, Coke aims to evolve their approach from “one-way storytelling” to a “dynamic storytelling model” where the brand narrative is so compelling, it flows into the popular narrative and earns cultural capital.
Moral of the story – harness the power of liquid content for your brand!
I have long thought that logos serve a dual function.
The Beacon – for newbies seeing a brand logo for the first time, it serves as a beacon…identifying the landmark and inviting passersby to investigate.
The Window– for experienced users, it serves as a window into the tapestry of ideas, thoughts and emotions that constitute the brand’s equity and, hopefully, appeal.
Here’s an example. Most Americans driving by a neon sign for Super Duper Weenie, if they see it, will think “hot dog joint” and perhaps stop in for a bite. This is the beacon effect. In contrast, for anyone living in Fairfield CT, home of Super Duper Weenie, this logo is already incredibly well known. It conjures up associations of fabulous hotdogs, incredible fries and an authentic welcome from owner Gary Zemola. This is the window effect.
If you want to see the early stirrings of logo power (as seen through the eyes of a 5 year old) check out the video below. And don’t neglect investing in consumer experiences that drive the power of your brand and your logo over time!
I’m not talking about Stevie Wonder here. I’m asking you to think about that very private, quiet, creative place in your mind where you go to imagine things – memories, mental geography, story lines, loved ones – the place you go to reflect on things when eyes are closed.
Imagine a new kind of brand communication – brand experience really – that speaks to this private part of your mind – bypassing verbal appeals and speaking directly to the non-verbal core of your imagination. Powerful stuff – a new language really – and some forward thinking brands are learning how to do it.
Consider the campaign for Legoland UK resorts – agency gurus installed tiny pigeon-sized Lego billboards around London and invited passers-by to tweet #legolandminibreaks with a photo if they spotted one. Alternatively, watch to video (attached) describing an experimental brand installation for Absolut India. These efforts bypass all the normal filters we consumers throw up, and speak directly to our inner vision – powerful stuff!
Yoplait…it is so Greek.
What? A french yogurt company, owned by US cereal giant General Mills, is now Greek. What’s going on here? Actually it’s just a competitive response to the surprise success of Greek-style yogurt maker Chiobani who came out of nowhere to become market share leader in 2011. Watch their new TV spot below to see how Yoplait is fighting back.
Moral of the story – nationality, and national stereotyping, can have a radical impact on product expectations and purchase interest.
Here’s an interesting concept – “The things you do when no one is looking define you.”
I recently ran across this idea in a Chrysler ad emphasizing that the company doesn’t cut corners on quality on the sly. They do the right thing, and they do it with care and intentionality. Think of US Airways flight 1549 and the heroic pilot who saved the day by successfully landing his crippled plane in the Hudson river. Then watch the video to see what he really did when no one was looking. It’s impressive.
Moral of the story- people like brands and companies that do the right thing. It’s the foundation of trust, and it’s rewarded by emotional and behavioral loyalty.
We are hardwired to seek out authenticity – the “real” thing.
We look for it in our personal relationships, in our business relationships, in the things we buy, and in the things we treasure. We care about provenance, because it’s a promise of security in an uncertain world. But sometimes we get fooled – hoodwinked, bamboozled, fleeced, swindled – and that can cause pain and loss. Think the Trojan Horse. Think Bernie Madoff.
Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale, has done fascinating research into how & why we value authenticity. He calls it Essentialism. Watch this video and have your eyes opened.
Moral of the story – authenticity, provenance, back-story…these are huge drivers of consumer behavior.
Our 9th president, William Henry Harrison, won by a landslide in 1840. His campaign was the first-ever to use a campaign slogan – “Tippycanoe and Tyler Too.” There were buttons, posters, pamphlets, songs and copious mud slinging on both sides, just like the modern campaigns we know and love today. But here’s that fascinating part – it was an inside joke that propelled him to office.
Opposition newspapers accused him of being too old for the presidency and suggested, “Give him a barrel of hard cider and … a pension … and he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.” Harrison realized this was an insult to the majority of voters and he gleefully transformed this slur into an inside joke. He poked endless fun at the “patrician snobs” sitting in Washington who drank fine wine while honest men drank cider. His team organized “log cabin raising” events in most major cities to rally the agrarian base. And his entourage shared barrels of hard cider at every speech and whistle-stop. He won by a landslide.
Moral of the story – be as one with your base. Build trust with stakeholders by demonstrating you are “of the tribe” through thought, word, action, and humor!