Saturday, April 19, 2008
image vs innovation
New Ways of Thinking
The media's role in this: different kinds of media force change in the marketplace. People are more aware of different media being fed to them these days.
The Difference between Brand Innovation and Brand Image:
Brand Image is oldschool. It follows this old formula:
Product Benefit X Distinct Indentity X Added Values = Strong Brand.
Examples: McDonalds followed this formula, using features such as fast, convenient coupled with family values, and the added value of work with the Ronald McDonald House to create a strong brand. This method worked for a time.
-Problems with this way of creating a Brand Image, is it shortchanges authenticity. A set script or formula is less sincere, and easily imitated. Examples of this are how Burger King copied McDonalds, or the Pepsi & Coke.
-There is often confusion between top of mind awareness and largest share of voice, and brand loyalty. Having a strong brand through the Brand Image formula doesn't ensure product loyalty.
Brand Innovation is a more interactive and dynamic way of handling a brand. It creates change in the way people do things, the image of the brand becomes what they do, their actions. (Example: Google. Has no advertising, but is known for what they do)
But first, what is a brand? A personality, a lifestyle. Who you are, what you want to be seen as. It is embedded in cultural ideals. (Examples: Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfigure, the Kennedy's. Each have represented a lifestyle to emulate, or to aspire to. All were, at least to begin with, innovators.)
In looking at the connection between brand and culture, with the old formula of brand image, consistency had been key. But why would a brand want to be consistent? Authenticity often means changing with the culture, as culture is fluent and interactions with brands are as well. Only liars are reliably consistent. (Examples of changing brands: Geico)
What is the role of advertising?
Is it to build culture, or to highlight it? Should it be the ads or the products that shape the brand? (example: Apple products are changing the way people interact and live, but the ads are showing us this lifestyle and the image of who you can be if you use the product.)
One thing seems to stand out: People are irrational. An example of this is the OJ Simpson trial for murder. He drives away from the police, and 66% of Americans say he's guilty. After a year of intense media coverage, and evidence built up against him, 67% believed he was guilty. Only 1% of people changed their minds, after having nearly indisputable evidence. Decision-making is not formulaic, and often not rational.
Looking at STEP for today's cultural climate (john grant):
S (societal): people are working longer hours, commuting further. As a result, they have less family time.
T (technological): iphone and clones can be used during the commute.
E (economic): gas prices rising, the threat of the recession.
P (political): Excitement over Bush leaving office, a more liberal agenda in the future.
Looking at these categories, does a brand fit into them? Consider that people decide on things irrationally (why else would people buy pet rocks?)