How To Build A Successful Brand – Even If People Hate Your Product

Monday, 16 July 2012

Red Bull Gives Me… Bleeeuurgghhh!!!

Give Zeta director Henry Waterfall-Allen a can of Red Bull, and he’ll probably be sick on your shoes – but he thinks the brand is amazing!

Despite feeling queasy at the mere mention of the performance-enhancing potable; he says: “Red Bull tastes disgusting!! – …but anything with the brand behind it; I know I will love.”

High Octane

Red Bull has pulled off an impressive feat – becoming synonymous with adrenaline. The brand is affiliated with a vast spread of high-octane danger pursuits – a nirvana which sports brands rarely achieve.

Just a few examples of events hosted by the brand: Red Bull Road Rage (freeride mountain biking); Red Bull Crashed Ice (extreme winter sports); Red Bull X Fighters (freestyle motocross) and Red Bull Cliff Diving.

Not forgetting the Red Bull Racing F1 team; New York Red Bulls soccer team; EC Red Bull Salzburg (an Austrian hockey team). I could go on. The brand also holds music and cultural events – Red Bull Studios Live – and Zero Cool Gallery – street art.

On the flip side; how about hated brands whose products we can’t resist?

(Don’t) Say My Name! – Starbucks’ Epic Fail

Earlier this year, Starbucks rolled out a vomit-inducing initiative: baristas who ask your name so they can personally announce when your drink is ready.

Being asked such a personal question by a complete stranger is just too familiar for most Brits – hence why we went nuts for the ‘everyone tell Starbucks your name is Bob’ campaign on Twitter.

Annoyingly however, the coffee chain is still the UK’s no1. Their faux-friendly, jazz-hands approach to marketing gets right up people’s noses – but at the end of the day; so does the smell of their delicious, freshly ground coffee.

Getting It Right

A survey by Marketing Week found that good old-fashioned customer service; brand integrity and avoidance of the ‘hard sell’ are still key factors in fostering brand loyalty – especially online.

Makes sense – Red Bull is bringing sports events, culture and music to the people – ok so they’re not doing it because they’re just being kind, but this kind of marketing is genuinely useful – they’re giving people an experience they’ll love, whether it’s the thrill of the race track or a chance to see up and coming bands.

Conversely, Starbucks’ campaign seems contrived: a transparent attempt by a multinational corporation to be fake friends with customers.

How To Make People Fall in Love With Your Brand

  • Be genuine – whether you’re Tweeting, emailing or talking in person; people can smell the hard-sell a mile off. More and more brands are taking time to engage in actual conversations with customers via social media, instead of just marketing ‘at’ them – which do you do?
  • Walk a mile in their shoes – discover what makes your customer annoyed, angry, sad – then show them a vision of their world, brought to life by your brand. If you’re writing, use concrete, not abstract terms, and be specific: ‘your sales will increase by 56%’ is much better than ‘you’ll be richer if you work with us’.
  • Sell the sizzle – (not the sausage). End benefits are sexier than product features and create an emotional connection. Consider: ‘Men who wear our cotton-rich socks sleep with 57% more women’ – compared with ‘our cotton-rich socks reduce foot perspiration by 57%.’
  • Put your customer first – write or talk about your customer: how will their life be improved by your product or service?
  • Bend over backwards – give outstanding customer service: make them feel like a fluffy kitten is curling up for a nap in their belly. That warm fuzzy feeling is a big step towards brand loyalty.
  • Make them feel like the only one – your customer is needy. Make them feel like the only person in the room by addressing them as ‘you’ in all your writing.

Which brands do you hate, but can’t resist buying from? Who do you love? Let us know below!