If branding can take inspiration from any other sector, it has to look no further than sports. Because if relationship between brand and customer is the core of branding, there is few, if any, that can match the intensity of the fanatic relationship between a football club and its fans.
Having doubts? Just see the ever increasing number of English Premiere League fans that are being created everyday inAsia. Or visit the Anfield stadium inLiverpooland see how many people are singing their official song “You will never walk alone” during the match. Or visit the Old Trafford stadium each match day and see more than 60,000 spectators screaming their heart out time and again. Or visit a pub inThailandduring match day and see how many heated discussions are taking place.
Brands can only dream of such emotional engagement. That is the epitome of effective branding where your customers become your fans. And when you are considering creating fantastic brands, maybe that’s the place you should look into…..how a football club creates a brand.
We are often skeptical about the advertisements of brands that promise the world and fail to deliver. We reject those brands or switch. But does the fan change a football club even when the going gets rough?Liverpoolfootball club has not won their domestic football league for more than 20 years. But does that mean all the fans have lost faith in their football club and started supporting Manchester United. No. In fact in the last 20 years they have created a solid base of fans inAsia.
Can your brand claim to do that? Can we say that about a toothpaste brand? A shampoo? Would you use the same mobile phone if it fails to work once?
If the answer you wished is “Yes” and you actually got is “No”, then basically your brand is still looking for the holy grail of branding – Brand Evangelists or Fanaticism. Which basically means your customers will walk a mile for your brand, suggest it blindly to others, campaign in favor for you, stick by you even when you lose that edge in performance and forgive you even when you have done something wrong.
Apple can claim that. But can your brand?
Unfortunately brands in general focus more on short term gain over long term relationship, which is why there is an ever increasing tendency to hide the negatives and dial up the positives. Simply spoken, brands are not speaking 100% truth through their marketing.
Some might argue as that to be the exact role of marketing. You take an average product, you try to distract consumers attention to the most positive side of your product / service so that he doesn’t really notice some of the more “not-so-attractive” aspects of your product. That way you increase the awareness of your brand and make the sale. And with some luck going, customer will never notice it. Even if it does, its always management or other department’s problem.
And then we go on wondering why brand loyalty is such a dying concept.
This is where David Ogilvy, the legendary adman, just killed himself. Because it was he who said a long time back “A consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife. Don’t insult her intelligence, and don’t shock her” . This saying is now truer in an era where consumers are more knowledgeable than ever. But the way most of the brands are behaving these days, you would probably think consumer marketers all over the world is suffering from a bad case of superiority complex and trying to get clever rather than get real. Some of these are documented here.
(To Be Continued)