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Create an Ownable Branded Energizer

Events not only build buzz. They underscore key attributes of your brand.

Most brands need more energy in order to provide the visibility needed to be considered and to support perceptions and attitudes. But how do you energize a brand, especially when the brand has no newsworthy innovations on hand or there is little interest in the brand or product category? 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 but has energy and then to use that “branded energizer” to energize the target brand or sub-brand.

“A brand makes it so much easier to achieve the energizing objectives.”

An ownable branded energizer is a branded product, promotion, sponsorship, symbol, program or other entity that by association significantly enhances and energizes the target brand and is developed and owned by the organization.

Examples of Brand Energizers

The Avon Walk for breast cancer provides energy to the cosmetics firm that could not be obtained through the offering. The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, the hot dog-shaped vehicle that travels the country and supports the Oscar Meyer jingle context. The Adidas Streetball Challenge is a branded weekend event centered around local three-person basketball tournaments and featuring free-throw competitions, 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 Michelin 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.

An effective homegrown brand energizer should:

  • Have energy and vitality. That means it should be described as 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 sub-brand 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 a long-term asset and 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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

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