Why don’t brand taglines stick anymore? Why don’t we remember ads? Does brand-building have to cost an arm and a leg? And what will ‘the new normal’ look like for branding post-COVID-19?
These are some of the questions Carmela Soares (Creative Strategist, Facebook), Pia Chaudhuri (Group Creative Director, BMF) and Tara Ford (Chief Creative Officer, DDB Sydney) answered during a Cannes UnCanned session on brand building.
The panelists looked into how creativity can be used to build a healthy, long-term brand rather than focusing on short-termism, click-rates, and impressions. They also discussed why emotional connections and brand assets are vital to building a long-term relationship with consumers and how that can ultimately help brands stay relevant and top of mind in the long-run.
Why don’t we remember a brand’s tagline like we used to?
On what makes a brand’s tagline memorable and stick, Ford said it’s all about being brave and standing-out, but also make sure you’re catering to the market you’re in.
She said: “The line has to mean something to the brand. It has to mean something to what it stands for. A lot of these taglines are brought from a global platform. And it doesn’t always work for the market you’re in.
“A line that’s used really well is something like Marmite’s ‘love it or hate it’ where they’ve really made that mean something to the product and they’ve reinvented it over and over.”
Ford said for something to really stick in a consumer’s mind, you have to be consistent and look at it as a long-term brand-building exercise.
“It’s not something that you can do in the short term, you have to be consistent with your messages.”
As to why taglines don’t seem to stick anymore? Ford said: “I think the work that is brave and that stands out is always going to be something that people will find memorable. If you can build your brand in that way, then you’re more likely to have memory structures that you can take forward.”
Soares agreed with Ford, but said it’s not just about a brand’s one tagline, but rather how it fits with the whole brand.
She said: “I think this is an interesting one because I completely agree with Tara. The line has to be meaningful. But also the tagline is just one part of a brand. One of the great examples is Burger King. You probably won’t remember the tagline ‘Be Your Way’. Yes, you might know KFC’s ‘Finger lickin’ good’ which is certainly memorable, but you always recognise Burger King’s whole brand. Everything they do is of the same value and principle, and basically just trolling McDonald’s.
“The line is not everything. The work has to be to make the line meaningful,” said Soares.
Chaudhuri added: “I remember a time when lines used to stick around for decades obviously the more people hear it, the more they’ll stick. I think we’ve sort of moved into a time where people feel like they need to change it every year, and that’s not helping.
“It takes in humble and confident creative to appreciate what has come before them and not and resist the urge to just come in and change things up for the sake of it. A lot of it comes from an agency perspective. There’s people wanting to make their mark, I suppose. And we are obviously hardwired to appreciate new things, especially in this day and age where we are bored easily.
“From the brand side, the brand team on the client side tend to change quite quickly as well. And so, we’re finding kind of all of this compacting to create this culture of just wanting to change and ultimately, that’s not helping.”
Does building a brand have to cost an arm and a leg?
There’s a common conception that building a brand is a costly exercise, yet according to Soares, not building a brand is more expensive than building a brand.
She said: It all has to do with memory structures. Building a brand is an exercise from the ground up, so you just translate the company’s values into everything they do, plus communications, marketing, advertising, and so on.
“The repetition and consistency of it and the investment of time is often more important than the investment of money. It all builds on each other as opposed to starting over and over again every time you run an ad. After a while, you don’t need to have a huge investment, if you have a strong brand. You just need to keep going and keep being consistent with it.”
Ford also agreed it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – what’s important is connecting emotionally with people.
“It doesn’t have to be a 90 second TV ad. What you do need to do is make sure that you are connecting emotionally with people. In the long term, if you don’t invest in brands, it will cost you more in the long run. Sometimes it’s really hard when you can’t see the return on investment immediately, but it does come and that has been proven time and time again.”
Reaching the distracted consumer
While consistency may be key to building a brand, how do brands actually reach consumers in an overcrowded market? With consumers distracted from all the online noise, how do brands really engage and attract their attention?
Chaudhuri said it’s not about reaching consumers with a quick ad, but rather an accumulation of all a brand’s work.
“We’re constantly creating or becoming shorter and shorter with our content trying to cram more and more into six seconds these days, but it’s not just about that. It’s about the accumulation of all of your work. So you can’t measure one tiny thing as the be-all and end all of your communications.
“You have to see it as holistically as part of an ecosystem of lots of things. But you need to use each format for what it’s good at. There still are agencies who will put a TVC and cut it down for social, and just not the way to do it. You need to get the best out of every channel and getting them working together.”
Ford came back to the idea of connecting emotionally as the key driver when it comes to capturing a consumer’s attention.
She said: “Connecting emotionally is always the key no matter what the format is. I think online, we’re not competing with other advertising, we’re competing with everything. There’s so much going on there. There are some very serious topics at the moment with news and current affair. But there’s also the Kardashian’s and whatever else you come across, s we have to, we have to make sure we cut through that and make it interesting.”
The short and medium-term changes post-coronavirus
On the future of brand building, especially in a post-COVID-19 world, Ford said it’s vital for a brand to stay true to who they are.
“I think it’s really important through COVID and any kind of social or cultural change for the brand to know who it is and be true to that.
“When brands try to overreach and become something that they are not, it feels wrong. And people know that. You know straight away. DDB did a bit of research coming into the COVID period about how people felt about brands and the brands that did best were the ones that were quite giving in that time. And the ones who were helpful and still stayed true to who they were. Knowing who you are given the conditions, whatever they may be, is important.
“It will be really interesting to see what will happen next. I think none of us really know. We can have ideas that it’s all going to go back to normal, and maybe it will, but maybe it won’t.
“We just have to really know who we are over this time and brands need to be true to their DNA.
You can watch the full session HERE.
Massive thanks to our Cannes UnCanned sponsors!
It’s been a tough year for a lot of us. But rather than reminding everyone of the hardships 2020 has brought, tech giant Apple has decided to spread the joy of Christmas in its latest holiday spot. The ad features an initially gloomy Tierra Whack (American rapper, singer and songwriter) coming home from what appears […]
Frontier Advertising has rebranded to Frontier Media, complete with a fresh new look, and expanded its core team to accomodate some big clients wins. Frontier Media was acquired by Australian-owned, independent agency group VMG (Venetian Media Group) in early 2020. The rebrand is seen as an important step in VMG’s growth strategy and core services […]
As one of Australia’s best-known charities, the Starlight Children’s Foundation has a reputation for providing much-needed support and happiness. Starlight brings a little more brightness into the lives of seriously ill children and their families, so they can forget about their illness for a while and reconnect with the joy of being a child. Of […]
With this year’s Black Friday sales now just days away, Kristen Cornale, Co-founder and Strategic Director at UnDigital, gives her advice on how to get the most from your Black Friday sale. It’s no secret that online shopping has become more and more prominent over the last few years. With the introduction of Click Frenzy […]
Independent media agency Paykel Media has announced the appointment of Dan Hojnik to the new role of head of strategy and planning. Hojnik will start at Paykel Media on 4 January. Based in Melbourne, he will report to Sarah Keith, who joined Paykel Media as national managing director in early November, based in Sydney. Hojnikwas […]
According to the latest global media agency study New Business Barometer for Q1-Q3 2020 published by COMvergence, Wavemaker came out as the top global media agency in new business results with total new business value of $US1.1 billion (including $US370M of retentions) during the first nine months of 2020. This is largely due to strong […]
Mark Carter (main photo) is an international keynote speaker, trainer and coach. He has over 20 years’ experience as a global learning and development professional and author of the book Add Value. In this guest post, Carter offers easy tips to adding a value proposition to your customer service… Adding value via service is a […]
Melbourne-based, boutique activations and brand experience company, ACTIV Brand Management, has secured a new partnership with Nine The Block, which saw them deliver a series of sensory brand experiences to support the show’s sponsorship engagement and virtual events calendar. In response to the changing events landscape, the team at ACTIV recently launched Brand Box, a […]
World-leading conversational AI agency VERSA has announced its expansion into India, capitalising on demand for specialised conversational strategy and design in a market with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, and an installed base of nearly a billion mobile phones. VERSA India will be a 50/50 joint venture between VERSA (Headquartered in Melbourne, […]
Alive are celebrating 10 years! Leaders in creative event production, and the launch of ‘Alive TV’ showcases the revolutionary concepts created for clients during this challenging year; such as the most recent virtual success stories with clients such as Luxoticca Brickworks and The International Rose Garden Festival. Alive Events have pioneered the virtual space for […]
Integrated B2B marketing agency Thinksmart Marketing (TSM) has managed to execute a campaign from 3,000ft up in a hot air balloon. NICE inContact, approached TSM earlier this year to build preference, drive demand and generate strong leads for the brand across ANZ, with a campaign focusing on showcasing the capabilities and agility of its global-leading […]
Global attribution and marketing analytics company AppsFlyer has expanded into Australia and New Zealand, with the official opening of its first office in Sydney. It marks the opening of the company’s 19th office worldwide, with AppsFlyer hoping to “support the region’s rapidly growing local app economy”. The company said it plans capitalise on ANZ’s mobile […]
Brand experience and innovation company Akcelo has been appointed by equity crowdfunding platform VentureCrowd to lead its marketing transformation plans. Akcelo will drive VentureCrowd’s customer strategy, acquisition and nurturing programs as part of the transformation program, including the Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration to its business ecosystem. VentureCrowd is a digital investment platform which gives investors […]
Public Relations agency The PR Hub is expanding its team, announcing the hire of two senior account managers, Olivia Jarman and Trudy Scott. The hires will support growth in the business with the agency experiencing an increase in demand for B2B and B2C communications and personal branding services across a broad range of technology driven […]