The delightful blue muppet Cookie Monster has graced Austrlaian shores this past week with a series of tours, interviews and selfies. He’s been travelling around, ooh and ahhing at Aussie things, posting many of them on social media, and charming the pants off whoever’s interviewing him.
A Sesame Street monster he may be, but he’s arguably got his brand under his belt.
Marketers, take note.
Being the brand
Cookie Monster’s ultimate passion is cookies. And he never strays far from that love. Whether it’s in in his social media feeds – where he tweets endlessly about cookies and his many cookie-related adventures on YouTube – or his appearances on TV or in-person (in-muppet?), Cookie Monster always brings it back to cookies.
It makes him authentic, said Adam Ferrier, global chief strategy officer at creative agency Cummins&Partners.
“Cookie Monster doesn’t try and be alternative, or up with the times, or hipster, he’s just himself,” he said. “People like consistency and like to know where people are coming from.
“With Cookie Monster you know most of his opinions and attitudes are shaped by his love of cookies.”
Having a brand that’s authentic is critical in today’s cluttered landscape, according to the Authentic Brand Index. It makes a brand stand out and gives trust to consumers.
“At its heart, authenticity is about practising what you preach; being totally clear about who you are and what you do best,” the site said.
“When a brand’s rhetoric gets out of sync with customers’ actual experiences, the brand’s integrity and future persuasiveness suffers.”
Taking a selfie with a Quokka, an adorable Aussie marsupial, is a trend that’s been making the rounds on social media in recent years. It was hyped up so much Buzzfeed published a piece about the ’25 Selfies That Prove Quokkas Are The Happiest Creatures On Earth’. And noting this, Cookie Monster too decided to get in on the action and snuggled up to the creature for a quick photo. Check out the selfie above.
“It’s great to see Cookie Monster get up close and personal with a Quokka – perhaps the only animal on the planet, who knows its brand as well as Mr Monster,” said Ferrier.
“The Quokka knows its role in life is to get its nose really close to any camera and do amazing Quokka selfies, whilst promoting the best place on earth, Western Australia’s own Greek Island – Rottnest.”
Too, being a tourist to Australia, Cookie Monster went out and did all the touristy things one would do. And he personalised it, tweeting about specific cafes and specific indulgences, specific alleyways and specific pieces of art.
— Cookie Monster (@MeCookieMonster) March 21, 2016
— Cookie Monster (@MeCookieMonster) March 20, 2016
Many brands are aiming to become more human on platforms like social media, such as the number of companies putting names to social posts when replying to complaints.
“Good content is created for people first, search engines second, so to get the best content, showcase the human side of your business,” writes Brett Relander for Entrepreneur magazine. He lists six reasons brands should be human on platforms like social media, which include building emotional connections, ensuring smoother conversations, building trust and aiding in the aforementioned authenticity.
He creates heaps of content and stays current
Sure, Cookie Monster probably has a whole sleuth of helpers to get all his content off the ground, but there’s not shortage of bits and bobs of his out there.
He’s not afraid to make fun of pop-culture, with his parody videos of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Wizard of Oz, but he stays true his brand and love of cookies. Even when he was in a skit for US talk show Jimmy Kimmel, all his jokes ended in cookies.
“The secret is to make sure that he doesn’t over step the mark,” said Bec Brown, founder of PR agency Bec Brown Communications. “I’m sure we’ll never see cookie getting involved in anything that’s over a G rating, or maybe a very soft PG.”
The adage ‘content is king’ still reigns. Brands are evolving to become publishers in their own right, with AdAge reporting budget spend on content marketing is set to bulge to $US300 billion per year.
“Content is growing at an unprecedented rate because traditional advertising is getting disrupted at an exponential rate,” writes Jeff Rosenblum and Jordan Berg for AdAge.
But it goes beyond just creating snippets on social media. Yes, Cookie Monster does a lot of that, but for brands trying to sell products, Rosenblum and Berg say companies need to create content that goes beyond just trying to sell the product.
“It’s about brands taking a leadership position and standing for something bigger than their products and more important than their marketing,” they continue. “It’s about both inspiring the audience and empowering the audience.
“Great content can certainly serve the entire sales funnel, but its core role is in the mid-funnel: shifting consumers’ perceptions. It helps the audience understand what makes a brand different or better. It works most effectively when audiences access it via their own volition, unlike traditional marketing, which requires paid media to garner attention.”
He’s only a puppet, but he’s a puppet that’s seriously doing the media rounds in Australia. He’s been on a number of shows and interviews and posed for photos with both people and animals. He’s also active on social media, retweeting and replying to people’s queries about cookies.
— Cookie Monster (@MeCookieMonster) March 14, 2016
— Cookie Monster (@MeCookieMonster) March 16, 2016
— Cookie Monster (@MeCookieMonster) March 20, 2016
The same rings true for brands. With the advent of social media, brands are more accessible. A customer with a complaint can tweet or Facebook the company, instead of dialling the dreaded customer call centre.
This comes back to the point of being authentic and relatable. Optus was praised recently for its employee ‘Dan’ who put a name to his firm replies when people complained about the telco’s multilingual advertising.