A brand has a dialog with the world. Some of these dialogs are smart with excellent ROI while others are fruitless wastes of time and money.
Yet brand development is a vital key to establishing a brand’s vocabulary in its ongoing dialog with the world.
Brands are known for what they don’t say as much as (and in many cases, more than) they’re known for what they do say. And it all resides in the brand development before any creative starts.
It’s part of the strategy and translates into the ongoing tactics used by world-class brands all the time, though it’s incredibly easy to miss. Why? Because it’s what’s you don’t see or hear that tells the story.
You Don’t Say!?
Apple uses this tactic all the time. So do hybrid cars. The food industry uses it all the time to invent new categories and reinvigorate tired ones. Can your brand benefit from this overlooked strategy?
Answer this question: Have you ever tried to brand something that was about “what you didn’t get” rather than what you did?
It’s not as uncommon as you might think: Fat-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free.
In the automotive world, look at hybrids which are about being pollution-free (e.g., absence of detrimental toxins being put into the environment).
The Cold Truth About Branding What’s Not There
Let’s take a case in point. City Ice, a company known for its remarkable quality ice, had this problem:
Their product lacked something. And that very item that wasn’t present is what they had to “sell” to customers.
OK, I’ll back up here.
Fact is, ice made in a home freezer (even those with water filters) sits uncovered and fully exposed in a freezer absorbing odors germs and bacteria.
You know what baking soda does in your fridge? Absorb odors and germs. Anything left uncovered in your fridge (or freezer) will absorb what’s around it.
The outcome is smelly, taste-altering ice that’s not healthy, fresh or germ-free. Yuck.
City Ice has perfected the process to produce ice that has none of that and only cools your drink. Nothing more.
Getting People to Wake Up and Smell the…
To drive this message home, we decided to create a campaign around the above facts of ice absorbing smells.
The solution became: Unstink Your Drink.
We figured ice was the perfect solution to cool you when you’re feeling warm. So after we applied this to the organic canvas of the human body, the medium we chose to tell the story was a series of videos, 4 of which you see below. This series of videos that gets the viewer to look at ice in a totally different way than they have before.
(This introduces the first of two documented “smell tests” performed by a professional. Do not try this at home.)
Why The Wrong Brand Development Is Costing You Sales, Loyalty and Brand Leadership
Some companies focus so much on what they’ve done, they lose sight of the consumer’s view which (in branding) has no equal. You must know what your customer may want (or not want) in order to carve out a message.
Sometimes it isn’t about what you offer as much as what your brand or product helps the consumer avoid. Whether its B2B or B2C, it doesn’t matter. Heck, when you get down to it, even something as trite as price uses this: Get the same thing but spend less of your money.
Even Apple embraced this: Saying no to the status quo. Not offering “beige.” Getting technology out of the way, and much, much more.
The moral of this: Know when to say no.
How have you said, “No” in your branding? Drop me an email. I’d love to know how you used it and the results.