‘The Most Effective Strategy Is To Simply Just Do It’: Throwing Over-Thinking Out The Window When It Comes To Branding

‘The Most Effective Strategy Is To Simply Just Do It’: Throwing Over-Thinking Out The Window When It Comes To Branding
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

While the ‘why’ of branding has gained traction, many brands struggle to bridge the gap between promise and delivery. In this op-ed, Dan Parritt (lead image), co-founder and managing partner at Molasses, writes that sometimes the most effective strategy is to simply ‘Just Do It.’

Over the last decade, the ‘why’ has become a focus for the brand. But there has been a disconnect. We’ve seen many brands jump on the bandwagon with the likes of ‘here for you’, but living that promise is a tough ask – and what does it even mean anyway?

Today, the consumer has more choice, more access, and more power than ever before, and simply saying ‘we’re here for you’ isn’t going to cut it – brands must be relevant and brave.

Brands are moving beyond click-bait and the search for instant results to become more aligned with what Les Binet and Peter Field outline in ‘The Long and Short of it’ – where they prove that brands cannot thrive on short-term thinking or instant gratification alone – whereas long-term brand building can and does build short-term effect.

And, as with life, there’s a clear need for balance—instant results alone are not a good way of measuring success, as it is, by its very nature, short-term. Yes, you could argue that this change has been happening for some time, but apparently, many are still playing catch-up.

The need to ‘feel’ is more important than ever. We want to feel part of something and feel good about it, whatever it is – with brands reassuring us and helping us along. We buy what makes us feel better, which is why brands must work harder to connect. The key to building a great brand is understanding consumer mindsets, and this is the balance we speak of.

So, clarity of brand strategy, positioning, and execution is obviously fundamental. But above all else, stand out—visually and verbally—as a product and be open to evolution. Generally speaking, the worst thing that can happen to a brand is nothing.

A brand’s true power is creativity and expression. Imagine how a moment, music, place, piece of art, or novel moves us—how we associate with it and what moods they conjure up when we hear, see, or are reminded of it in any way—that is a truly great brand.

So, how do you create a truly great brand?

Understand the customer and consumer

Read, watch, listen, Google, beg, borrow, or buy, whatever brings a brand closer to consumer culture. Understand where trends have been and where they are going. Marketers should lean on their agencies for help—ask them to be proactive. Working in an agency myself, I am privileged by both variety and distance. We are exposed to a lot, both good and bad, and can sometimes see what clients don’t.

Finalise the opportunity

This is a combination of what has been discovered and the conclusions around opportunity. It should make up the essence, or at least the beginnings, of a brand with a platform that can be developed further—creatively and messaging—and ideally lead to the right platforms and channels to use. Even with an existing brand, any campaign should consider the opportunity in light of what already exists.

This opportunity should be short—a few words—and an expression of the brand idea. It does not need to be consumer-facing, just enough to provide inspiration. Even accountancy software needs to help you feel something while solving a challenge, for example, Xero’s ‘Making business beautiful’.

Execution, messaging and metrics

Whether you’re a follower of Byron Sharp or not, it’s tough to argue that reach shouldn’t be a key metric. However, look for the more unusual/untraditional spaces to connect and try. Surprise and delight are still a thing.

When it comes to messaging, consider the journey and evolve the message. I’m always reminded of the Microsoft vs. Apple packaging and advertising a decade or so ago. Apple focussed on the simplicity of the product and beautiful design, and still does, over Microsoft’s reliance on product attributes. Don’t force everything – the consumer doesn’t give a shit about the detail (yet). They want to feel and engage (if only for seconds) until they are really researching.

Reaction and action are vital. It’s what we strive for. If brands make you laugh, smile, cry, love – you remember them. They provide an antidote to take consumers somewhere. Consider what doing nothing is going to mean, and in the words of one of the greatest brands ever created… Just Do It.

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