Creative Corner: The Brand Promise
Here are some ways to keep the promise of your brand:
1. Be consistent. When Absolut launched its first ad campaign, it gave its agency two rules: 1) show the bottle and 2) print the word “Absolut” beneath it.
You’d think the creative team would have been stifled. No such thing. It created powerful print ads and built a huge brand. Absolut ads became collectibles. Remember the two-ply Absolut ad with Nicole Miller stockings nested between the plies?
Consistency (and brilliant creative) got the message through.
Boardroom’s newsletter Bottom Line/Personal uses a consistent image throughout the publication, in its direct mail packages and on its Web site. There always are “fascinations” that entice you to turn to a certain page and heaps of benefits. Boardroom used the same family identity with a new focus when it launched Bottom Line/Health.
2. Surprise and delight. This is a lot like improving the customer experience. An example is purchasing from the L.L. Bean catalog and being able to return worn-out boots 30 days (or 10 years!) after the purchase date.
Once, I ordered a large quantity of little silver boxes engraved with clients’ names from Lillian Vernon; they weren’t centered properly. Lillian Vernon customer service arranged for them to be redone and delivered to me in record time. We don’t talk about the customer experience in our copy nearly enough.
3. Don’t let your business dictate the tone of your brand personality. You’d think a bank or an insurance company would want a serious personality, but MetLife does very well with Snoopy. GreenPoint Bank in New York gets attention with its Fellini-like commercials featuring a dog named Skippy. And who can forget the AFLAC duck?
4. Your brand voice should speak to your target market. The tone has to be right and always the same, whether it is in an acquisition or a retention program. Everything has to sound and look as if it’s coming from the same company that always will deliver on its promises. This includes copy on the response vehicles, the fulfillment label, your carton, etc. Of course, this doesn’t mean everything has to look the same all the time, but the company that uses Snoopy can’t afford to start sounding like Lassie or, worse, Cujo.