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New brands must create fame

News, 25 May 2017
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LONDON: Needs in the 21st century are mostly satisfied, and there is no such thing as an untouched category, therefore new brands must aim to create fame at launch and capitalise on a sense of shared excitement.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to launch a new brand, Nick Kendall, founding partner of The Garage incubator business, maintains that the first consideration for any new brand is how to be noticed and how to get consumers' attention.

The focus on fame continues the thinking of Howard Gossage, who in the 1960s wrote that people don't read ads, instead "people read what interests them – sometimes it's an ad".

Fame, Kendall says, is more than just spiking interest and gaining awareness: "fame builds a sense of 'shared excitement'. It is an energy therefore rather than just a state … Fame overcomes inertia."

But he is aware of the mercurial nature of fame, and aware that strategising to create it requires a difficult combination of emotional resonance, a distinctive truth, and a "Zag" – to borrow from the BBH motto – a break from category norms.

"The search for the Zag is about the search to break and disrupt the current category codes. It is hard to get noticed when hiding in the midst of one's competitors," Kendall says.

This distinctiveness helps to drive word-of mouth, a significant force for "creating fame," standing alongside TV as a channel from which people learn about new things.

Its particular value is that "it creates both awareness and influence," Kendall contends – "the very fuel of fame".

However, "too many launches … in today's world think only in the short term and in the first phase", Kendall warns, arguing that, after launch, long-term thinking allows a brand to keep pace with the accelerating competition.

The challenge is to anticipate when to move from phase to phase. "Timing becomes the critical factor. And that is hard."

For a successful launch that builds long-term fame, brands must understand when to switch from short-term metrics, to building a brand for future revenue growth.

Data sourced from WARC

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