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The Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis). With a population decline of 98% between 1970 and 1990 there are few animals more critically endangered than this.


Of all the beasts roaming free in the world of marketing there is none so rare as the brand idea.


Given that every agency is convinced they build big ideas for their clients on a daily basis, real brand ideas are surprisingly thin on the ground.
Of course there are notable exceptions and many of those have been duly noted and celebrated in this forum – ‘Dirt is good’, ‘The campaign for real beauty’ and even ‘Try something new today’.
And our business folklore is built around ideas like ‘We are number two, we try harder’, ‘Reassuringly expensive’, ‘The ultimate driving machine’, ‘Its good to talk’, ‘The fourth emergency service’ and ‘The power of dreams’.
But by and large most brands and their agency advisers appear consummate in their ability to avoid coming up with genuine brand ideas – settling instead for advertising ideas or worse, just a one off creative idea.
This wouldn’t be a problem except that it leaves countless brands and businesses without any point and with no reason to exist. Whole swathes of the financial services market, the high-street and mall, online retail, automotive and fmcg are packed to the gunnels with pointless brands – simply because of a lack of intelligence and imagination.
The problem, I suspect, is that no-one has the slightest idea what a proper brand idea looks like. How can you deliver the holy grail of brand marketing if you can’t tell whether the ideas you have come up pass muster.
That is what we are going to do in the run up to Christmas ladies and gentlemen – create a set of evaluation criteria for brand ideas.
Now I am reasonably certain the whole thing will make use of the Cluetrain idea that people are no longer interested in your positioning they want to know what your position is (seems to me to be the way Dirt is goods is working’. Indeed as Hugh says – the market for something to belive in infinte.
And I think generosity is going to play a part somewhere. I don’t mean showing generosity to customers (though that is nice) but creating ideas that are generous to everyone that works with them. That’s one of the characteristics that separates a proper brand idea from an advertising idea – it doesn’t matter what discipline you represent you immediately know how to execute excellent work to ‘Dirt is good’. It is generous because it allows everyone to excel.
And there must be some way of evaluating potential ideas on the basis of perceived potency – though I’m not sure how to frame that yet.
Do you have an idea about what makes a great brand idea?

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