Brand strategy

Brand_strategy Branding is surrounded by spectacular change.  In this section, I want to canvas some of our strategic opportunities.

The Learning Personhood from William Shakespeare post: Brands are going from wooden, overdrawn, repetitive creatures to something more nuanced, complex and interesting.  This just happens to be the transition that Shakespeare brought to the theater of 16th century England.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Charisma from Cate Blanchet post: We take the comparison a step further.  If we have something to learn from Shakespeare’s theater, we have something to learn from Cate Blanchet’s charisma.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Playfulness from Craig Ferguson post: And why not take a step farther still?  (We could have called this book Learning from Hollywood.  I may yet.)  Here we look at what Craig Ferguson brought to late night television.  By this time in his distinguished career, Letterman is very like many brands we know.  At this point, he’s just phoning it in.  Ferguson is playful, a little surreal at times, vivid, changeable, unpredictable, insinuating, co-conspiratorial, and a little hyperactive.  Branders take note.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Cocreation from Chevy post: We have seen from some time now that brands have to give up some of the levers of control.  This is hard to do.  It’s scary to do.  And it’s easy to do badly.  Most of all, it takes a new set of tolerance for noise and for risk.  But it’s got to be done.  The only way to participate in the world of the consumer is to let the consumer to participate in the world of the brand.  These are early days and we have lots to learn.  I think Chevy offers a brilliant first effort.  (See the post here .)

The Learning Multiplicity from Unilever post: As we know, consumer taste and preference have fragmented.  This means the brand has to learn how to be many things to many people.  Consistency is dead.  We must become masters of multiplicity.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Mystery from American Express post:  Perhaps the most revolutionary thing a brand can do in it’s effort to manage meaning is to embrace meanings that are a little unclear.  This breaks the first rule of marketing (keep it simple, stupid) and it’s precisely what American Express did when it asked M. Night Shyamalan to do ads for their Oscar campaign.  It is a study in indeterminacy, and perhaps the most daring piece of advertising we have seen in a long time.   (See the post here.)

The Learning Transmedia from Mr. Clean post: As brand messages now travel in more media and new media, we are having to create brands that speak with many, different voices.   "Transmedia" is a concept given us by MIT colleague Henry Jenkins, and in this post I try to apply it to the brand called Mr. Clean.  (See the post here.) 

The Learning Brand Theater from My Own Experience post: This post describe my attempt to build a brand by taking a theatrical approach to meaning making.  This marks a shift from the "big cannon" approach to branding, the one that uses mass media, simple messages, and constant repetition, to something much more nuanced, personal, and indeed, person to person.  This is branding as a tiny theatrical production in your own local pub or bar.  See what you think.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Networks from Nike post: Social networks are the single biggest revolution to sweep through the world of the marketing since World War II.  In this post, I examine how Nike with Nike+ managed to go from" selling shoes" to a much richer, social experience which is now doing magnificent things for the brand, volume and profit.  (See the post here.) 

In sum, branding is now a lively art.  Brands are becoming more animated, charismatic, and playful.  They are learning to be more things to more people, to include the consumer as a brand creator, and to master more subtle meanings.  Finally, they are learning to use transmedia, brand theater and social networks. 

A friend said to me, "Hey, I guess it’s true that they say about marketing.  It’s not rocket science.  If what you’re saying is true, it’s more complicated than rocket science."

3 thoughts on “Brand strategy

  1. niti bhan

    you wrote : Brands are going from wooden, overdrawn, repetitive creatures to something more nuanced, complex and interesting.

    I do wonder if that may be due to the increasing influence of the ‘read/write’ web, blogs, social networks et al where anyone online is in one sense “a brand”?

  2. Sam Ford

    Hey Grant, I’m really interested in this “consistency is dead” statement. Is it that a certain kind of consistency is dead, in your mind, or that consistency no longer matters in any vein? Consistency in terms of meaning control and easy definitions is indeed being challenged; on the other hand, it’s important for a brand to realize that, when they communicate with one audience in a digital world, many other audiences are likewise to see that messaging. Does that mean a brand has to be one thing in a fragmented world? Absolutely not. But they likewise have to remember that communication amongst all these audiences criss-cross and that fans create master narratives by reading corporate press releases, ad campaigns, etc., and read it against the product or entertainment property.

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