Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Brand hibernation.

Why your brand shouldn’t act like an Arctic ground squirrel.

Spare a thought for the ground squirrel. Every autumn, they gorge themselves at the Arctic all-you-can-eat buffet. Then bloated and exhausted from that hyper-activity, they collapse into a season-long sleep. When the first rays of spring rise over the glacial landscape, and the squirrel wipes the sleep from its eyes, it will have lost 25% of its body weight. That’s right. A full quarter.
Skin and bones, it leaves its slumber to start again: the annual pattern of feast and famine.

It’s not too dissimilar a pattern to many brands and their marketing plans. But while a squirrel has to do this to survive, smart brands can use smart solutions to keep awake (and eating) all winter long.
A brand may experience marketing troughs for several reasons. It could be that sales follow a seasonal sales pattern, for instance toys over Christmas or swimming pools before summer. It could also happen that economic uncertainty prompts marketers to scale down on communication.
Whatever the reason, if you leave the marketplace, the principle of ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ applies, and your brand, like the squirrel, will lose the punching weight that you worked so hard creating. You may even find, emerging after a long slumber that the world around you has changed. For Arctic squirrels, it might be global warming. For brands, it may be the emergence of new competitors, the constant rise of social media and new technologies or even its main competitors staying vocal in the downturn.

All of these scenarios are anathema to the slumbering brand. So how do you maintain a presence? How does a brand stay awake and active all year round? The first and foremost rule is to plan for your peaks and troughs. If you are a seasonal business, you’ll know when these occur. Obviously, the lion’s share of your budget will go into before and during your busy periods. But instead of going into deep sleep straight after, run smaller follow-up campaigns. They don’t have to include block-buster TV commercials. They can make use of cost-effective social media. Or direct marketing campaigns. Or innovative guerrilla marketing. That’s why you employ a marketing agency. Tell them to get creative.

Whatever your solution is, keep reminding your market that you’re out there. Lying dormant and doing nothing is the worse thing you can do. You’ll lose impetus and market share. And come spring, like the squirrel, you’ll have to work yourself to a standstill just to get back to where you already were!

Hilton Rose | Your Brand Agency
Email     hilton@urbrand.co.za

BizCom    http://www.bizcommunity.com/Profile/HiltonRose                                                                    

Monday, 30 June 2014

R.I.P. Why great ideas die.

Too single-minded. Too funny. Too controversial. Too different. Too expensive. Too hard.


There’s no end to reasons why good ideas end in the conceptual scrapyard in the sky. The clients may be creative, they may be keen, they may even have approved the idea – but, by the time that the audience gets to see it, more often than not, it is so watered down that it is unrecognisable from the brand agency’s original idea which everyone was so enamoured with.




The truth is that great advertising doesn’t only require a great team of brand developers. It also needs a great client. Amazing ideas which can make a product or service succeed are all well and good but unless the client remains
committed to its execution, every step of
the way, the end result can be worse than
having no idea at all.


One of the challenges to keeping a new idea alive is that, by its nature, that idea is different. And different isn’t always comfortable. It represents the unknown. But that’s why a good agency will have designed that idea to land smack in the middle of its desired target market. As Bill Cosby said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."  So yes, the idea may be risky or controversial but if it resonates with your core market, the job is done.


Another (in)famous idea killer is budget. Agencies understand times are tight but clients should also realise that cutting marketing costs is precisely the wrong thing to do in such times. If an idea is on-brand and an objective is quantified, realistic budgets cannot be reduced, without the idea running out of steam before it makes it to the consumer. Pffffft!


Then there’s implementation by committee. Imagine a concept is made out of play dough. Short of having a Steve Jobs-like visionary gingerly shepherding the idea to market, if the concept is handled by too many people, it will end up formless, shapeless and meaning not much to anybody instead of a lot to a few.


At Your Brand Agency, it’s our passion to see great ideas come to life, not for own sakes, but for the sakes of our clients, their brand, products and services. To realise a concept’s full potential, to make a difference in market, ideas must be owned. Again, not by the agency. By the client. By creative individuals in the client’s marketing departments. We need these people to nurture their idea, to coax from it glorious life, and resist the urge to twist into something amorphous.


Be bold, clients. Be resolute. Stand by your budgets. Stand by ideas. Protect the ones you love. Own them. They are yours, after all.


Because if you won’t fight for them, who will?

Hilton Alexander Rose
Your Brand Agency | Director 
Skype: hilton293