What does "science" mean? - To countless teenagers who had the wrong teacher in high school, it means, "a boring collection of right answers, categorized by topic." Once we discover t...
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Who Hates Your Brand?
What happens when you force people to choose sides?
Some will love you for it.
Others will hate your guts.
Same is true in the wide-frickin' open world of brand strategy where you have to decide who you choose to lose.
Otherwise, no one is really going to love your brand anyway.
Business owners are often shocked to discover their companies are not $100 dollar bills. Their products and services won't be universally liked by everyone. That's why you won't find any "brands of distinction" operating in what's called the "mushy middle"; a cliche-infested swamp of sameness that exists between the razor-edge extremes of love and hate.
For a brand to be effective, it has to be bold.
It has to stand for something.
And be willing to plant a flag on top of mountain it will die for.
Even at the risk of offending potential customers.
The best brands in the world never got to be that way by playing it safe or the role of Switzerland. Neutrality is not what great brands are made of.
Which is why it's worth studying the new Miracle Whip campaign, which has the gonads to say you either love us or hate us.
The Laws of Magnetic Polarity dictate that a force which attracts one substance, will also repel another with equal force. In brand development, it means your ability to attract legions of customers cannot exceed the potential to repel.
Isn't it intriguing how a simple food preference can evolve into an epic battle between the forces of good and evil?
Products and services represent the tangible in terms of WHAT you offer customers. But, a brand represents the intangible elements that signal HOW you are different and WHY they should choose you. Successful brands can help a failed product, but a successful product cannot help a failed brand.
When it comes to developing brand strategy, there’s no yin without yang. You can’t be all things to all people and build a legacy-driven, brand of distinction. The best you can do is wear a badge of ownership, virtually interchangeable with many other competitors in your category.
Which is why so many companies are still mired in the “mushy middle”, afraid to take a stand. Unwilling to risk pissing someone off.
Whe it comes to your own brand, can you identify who really does hate you or should hate you? Is there something your brand can adapt from the Kraft campaign with Miracle Whip?
Does it increase or diminish the value of this brand? How much buzz do you think they would they have generated with a "kumbaya, everyone loves us”, Caspar Milquetoast-type campaign?
Personally, I applaud Kraft for rolling the dice and forcing consumers to "get off the fence" when it comes to the polarizing taste of Miracle Whip. While I'm not a big fan of the product (and will only consume a light spreading under duress), I do see the wisdom in drawing a line in the branding sand.
Could developing an authentic (seamless) brand also mean exposing its less than flattering sides of the product and embrace warts-and-all reality?
Is this a card your customer would love to see you play?
“Better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for someone you are not”
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