Brand Strategy image from our post about branding strategy and creative execution

Too many brands are pushing irrelevant social commentary onto consumers, messaging that hasn’t been strategically thought through properly. The most recent example, although certainly not the only example, is the new OLX TV commercial. I don’t need to watch it twice to realise there is a complete disconnect between what the product is, and how the brand wants to be perceived. It’s a simple online buy and sell portal, not a philosophical mentor that’s going to hold my hand as we walk, together, into a brighter future. WTF?

I see it with banks all too often. They try to educate me on the meaning of freedom, or try to instill some sense of moral virtue into my financial decisions. Really? Rather offer me something that makes my life easier. How about actually contributing towards my happiness rather than trying to tell me about it. Develop a widget, lower your service charges, make something useful and purposeful that I can connect with in a tangible way. A useful app could make me switch, trying to convince me to be free could make me vomit.

It seems that brand managers are being fed the same sloppy, copied and pasted, strategies about optimism and human connection. I really don’t think anyone in charge of these decisions is experienced enough to understand a good strategy, or understand the reputational risk of driving a naive campaign into the market. The decision makers aren’t connecting with what their brand truly offers consumers in a practical sense.

“Brands, start treating consumers with the respect they deserve, your consumer is clever.”

– Darren Mckay

They’re driven by media strategists to buy media and then flood channels with overused and tired strategies based on tie dye, feel-good, connectivity, regardless of the brand or product. Where are the experts in these fields? They can’t all be in London. I believe we are dealing with marketers who don’t understand the basics of marketing, and their agencies are not giving them the guidance they so desperately need.

If you’re a fried chicken franchise, stay in your lane! Sell your spicy, delicious recipe. You’re a Friday night relief to any mom who has cooked all week. Be that brand, it’s why consumers love you.

Insurance companies, tyres, soft drinks, you name it, it feels like they’ve all gone to a guy who knows a guy who sells strategies based on humanity togetherness under his trench coat.

If you’re a sweet or a soda brand, help me have fun. Don’t sponsor golf, let the whiskeys own that space. Sponsor skating events and theme parks. I watched, in horror, as Coca-Cola made their logo small enough to reflect sophistication and subtlety for golf sponsorship. They shouldn’t be doing this, they’re big, fat and happy. Stay true to the strategic shape. Unless it’s Crazy Golf, then it’s anyone’s game.

Consumers will buy into your brand for being honest and authentic. They won’t buy into an insurance brand that tells a story of love, sharing, and caring. If you’re a brand that wears jeans and t-shirts, do not wear a suit and tie.

Brands, start treating consumers with the respect they deserve, your consumer is clever. They might not read every word you write, or pick up your subtle innuendos, but they will feel your BS, no matter what age. Talk the honest talk and walk that talk.
Win them over by being true to your DNA. A brand that plays in its own defined space, a brand that owns its voice and shares what it believes.

Then, when you’ve got that right, and you’re committed to your style of conversation, only then add creative magic. Choose the appropriate media channels and shout as loud as you want. It will be well received and more importantly, welcomed into the desired head spaces you’re wanting to attract.

Brands, take a deep breath, figure out who you are first. Then where you want to go. Otherwise you will reach your destination dazed and confused.

Glad to help.
Darren McKay