Create an Ownable Branded Energizer
Most brands need more energy to provide the visibility needed to be considered and also to support perceptions and attitudes (See post Oct. 26 http://ow.ly/eTTEa). How do you energize a brand especially when the brand has no newsworthy innovations on hand or when there is little interest not only in the brand but in the product category as well. It can be a tough assignment. The solution might be to create an ownable, internal branded energizer which is not part of the offering per se, which has energy and use that “branded energizer” to energize the target brand or subbrand.
An ownable branded energizer is a branded product, promotion, sponsorship, symbol, program, or other entity that by association significantly enhances and energizes a target brand and is developed and owned by the organization.
Some examples. The Avon Walk for breast Cancer provides energy to the cosmetics firm that could not be obtained through the offering. The Oscar Myer Weinermoble the eight hot dog shaped vehicles that visit kids events and support the Oscar Myer jingle context. The adidas Street ball Challenge is a branded weekend event centered around local three-person basketball tournaments and featuring free-throw competitions, a street dance, graffiti events, and extreme sports demonstrations, all accompanied by live music from bands from the hip hop and rap scenes. Symbols like the AFLAC duck, Betty Crocker, and the Michelen man provide enormous visibility while highlighting relevant attributes. Virgin’s founder and CEO, Richard Branson, with his outlandish stunts (some involving hot-air balloons) have become a large part of the energy and personality of the Virgin brand.
A effective home grown brand energizer should:
- --itself have energy and vitality. That means it should be described as being exciting/interesting, involving/engaging, innovative/dynamic, and/or purpose-driven/passionate. In most cases, the branded energizers will benefit the brand and the business in several ways including generating short term sales. But the energy should be one of the primary goals and the brand and its entity should be managed accordingly.
- --be connected to the master brand. One route is to use a subbrand such as Ronald McDonald’s House which means that the target brand has a connection in the name. A second route is to select a program or activity that is so on brand that it makes the link easier to establish. A baby-care program, like that of the Pamper’s Village, would require little effort to connect to Pampers because of its close connection with babies. A third is to simply forge the link by consistently building it over time with significant link building resources.
- --be regarded as an long-term asset and should be managed accordingly. We are not talking about a seasonal promotion, energizing though it might be. It should be a program, product, symbol or other entity that merits a long-term investment and ongoing active management. It should have an active life of its own and not just be something on the shelf. Consider the Avon Walk, the Oscar Meyer Weinermoble, the AFLAC duck, and Branson’s activities. These energizers all have had decades of life and themselves been continuously refreshed.
Most of these energizing programs could be accomplished without brands but a brand makes it so much easier to achieve the energizing objectives and to own it. A brand serves to make it easier for the firm to communicate what might be a complex concept and link that concept to the parent brand. It also makes it easier for the customer to remember the thrust of the energizer. But having a brand will not make an effective brand energizer. Rather, a worthwhile energizer that involves the investment of resources will be more effective and capable of being leveraged if it is branded.
The third of this brand energy trilogy, branded energizers owned by other firms, will be discussed in the next post.
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