'The Wall', probably the best of Pink Floyd's conceptual work to-date and arguably one of the most successful communication strategies ever to communicate brand truth (conceived by the de facto Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters) – both commercially and creatively.
Roger wrote 'The Wall' as a reflection of his own fears, losses and anger with the 'so called' managers of the society, tracing all the way back to the time when he was five months old and lost his father to the war. It's the story of a soul unsettled, a baby left alone, a child who never grew up, a frightened youth; the life of a man who refused to accept the system.
When I diverted my career path from the music industry to become a planner in advertising eleven years previous, it was because I was inspired by the idea of brands driving both 'social and economic progress'. After joining the world of advertising, I was taught that we (ad people) and marketing were in a partnership to achieve the greater good for business and society at large.
I like reading children’s books. They are full of life, colour and imagination. Last night, I finished reading ‘Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffers once more. It’s the story of a boy who finds a lost penguin on his doorstep and then travels all the way to South Pole to return the stranger. It is, by all standards, a pure story of curiosity and love from a child’s eye. In 2008, the story was adapted into a 24-min film and was first aired in the UK on Christmas Eve.
I recently read it to my daughter and she loved it too, to such an extent that she carried on reading it (over and over again) at short intervals throughout the day.
To their innocence, children carry the most creative brains amongst us all. And the thing I find most fascinating about children’s books is how they engage with children’s creative brains. They are always relevant, timely and acquire complete attention. Instead of talking at them, they ignite the imaginative neurons and talk with them. And of course, if you can connect with the brain of a child, you can connect with any. It’s no mystery why we suddenly change our tone when reading the bedtime story to the little ones.
Recently, I was watching a TV mini-series The Thorn Birds. It was first aired in 1983 on ABC and became the 2nd highest rated TV mini-series in the US in less than 3 days. The series was actually adapted based on Colleen McCullough’s 1977 best-selling novel.
There’s a scene in which Ralph de Bricassart, one of the lead characters talks about belief and faith, saying, ‘Belief doesn't rest on proof or existence...it rests on faith’
This made me think of the attitude we take in proving our work to the clients. Don’t we always try to aim to prove that all our ideas are factual? Our entire advertising ambitions are driven by our ability to satisfy the brand owners how factual our proposition is. And I don’t think, marketers are the ones who should be blamed here. When we don’t add faith to our work, how can we expect them to ask or even think about it?
People like talking to other people and sometimes their talks also involve brands. However, people don’t talk about brands in a too-good-to-be-missed-life-changing advertising style, but in an open and honest way.
It is critical to understand that talking is natural human behaviour and not something triggered by modern technologies. Technologies are only making sharing, visibility and generation of human conversations more convenient and accessible. Today, what is troubling the marketing world is a tiny element of human conversations, which have been in existence long before digital technologies arose. A recent report from Google confirms that there are 3.3 billion mentions of brands in a day of which only 5% or 0.16 billion are online.
Without a doubt, the value of a channel is directly linked with the value of its content. The traditional model of broadcasting is based on single source content production. It simply doesn’t allow people any control over what, how and where they can receive content. The channel provider solely manages the value of what's broadcast.
However, since the birth of digital technologies and peer-to-peer connectivity, people have begun to take more and more control over content and the channels broadcasting it. They can stop it, add to it, create it and above all share it with other people. In doing so, instead of seeking expert advice from brands or organisations, they are reaching out to people who they trust through personal or new, network-based interactions.
What follows are excerpts from the essay I wrote on defining the Future of Brands as part of the IPA Excellence Diploma. The essay discusses three areas which play a critical role in building a successful brand:
i. Brand Communities
ii. Brand Owners
iii. Brand Communicators
This piece is to discuss current state of brand communities (the people served by brands) and what methods / techniques we can apply to engage them in order to create successful, stronger brands moving forward.
These eight points are definitely not a final word on achieving social success.
But hopefully they will give us some leads on how best to plan one of the biggest buzz words of digital times - 'Social Media' - for brands.
What is a brand and why have one?
In The Oxford Dictionary, a product is mathematically defined ‘as a quantity obtained by multiplying quantities together, or from an analogous algebraic operation’. If we focus on the first part, i.e. ‘a quantity obtained by multiplying quantities together’, then we may find some very useful learnings for the businesses we serve.
As in mathematics, different quantities of letters, numbers, symbols etc. are combined together to create a single quantity or product i.e. (a + b) ² is the product of a ² + b² + 2ab. Similarly, organisations create combinations of people, technology and raw material to offer a single quantity that brings value back to the business. Until this point there is no need for brands. However, the real thing begins when the formula gets public and anyone with interests in mathematics can establish its identity and use it to support their work. In mathematics this works fine whereas in the world of businesses, this is a problem. As the commercial world operates on competitive laws, an industry can’t grow if all of its participants (businesses) offer the same product.