Iconic Brands that disappeared… the question is, why?

This is an interesting article from CNBC that looks at iconic brands that disappeared.  There are a number of questions that it raises: what makes a brand iconic, and why do once household brands lose their appeal.

Over the next few days I’m going to publish a number of posts looking at the topic of brand and offer some advice on how to build, retain and grow a brand that will win the hearts and minds of your prospects, customers and the press.

What were your favourite brands that disappeared and what was it that made you loyal to them?


How well do you know your audience?

One of the things that, arguably, derails more communications programmes than any other is not knowing who your audience well enough.  It’s one of the most neglected parts of every strategic comms plan.

I always remember back in the 90s [it may still be true now] that The Guardian was fabled for the granularity of the data it had collected about its readers.  It didn’t just know what proportion was male or female, what age brackets they fell into and what job they did… The Guardian knew, with a large degree of accuracy, the likely names of its archetypal readers, how many children they had, it could also hazard a guess at their names and ages.  It also knew the make and model of the car driven by the average Guardian reader, their salary and their hobbies.

This data enabled it to put together a newspaper that it knew readers would want to read.  It could instinctively know how its readers would react to a column or news story, the sort of pictures it needed to use and, most importantly, how to engage its readers.

In a world where your target audience is bombarded by more information than ever before, via more channels of communication than ever, on more devices than ever knowing your audience is more important than ever.  So, before you start on your next PR, marketing or social media campaign ask yourself how well you know the intended audience [or public]. What publications do they read; which social networks do they use; what are the top three problems they are trying to overcome.  If the answer is ‘not very’, then perhaps it’s worth investing some time and money before spending time, money and resource on a campaign that may fail to deliver the results you’re looking for.

2012 – The year online brand advertising comes of age?

I came across this video at the launch of Deloitte TMT Predictions 2012 a few weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to post about it ever since.  2012 is, according to Deloitte, going to be huge for online brand advertising.  One of the major strengths of this is that the Chipotle brand is only on-screen for between seven and ten seconds – the rest communicates the message… beautifully!

The result is that, at the time of posting, almost six million people have seen the advert on YouTube alone.  Six million x 7 seconds is… a lot!

Are there any other examples of amazing online brand adverts you know of?


What’s your signal to noise ratio?

With an increasing number of media – both traditional and new – one problem that many organizations fall foul of is thinking that more noise equals better communications.  In addition to their traditional PR and marketing many firms have rushed to create Facebook pages, Twitter handles, blogs, micro-blogs, LinkedIn pages, Flickr sites… not to mention the most recent brand ‘must have’  – a Pinterest ‘board’.

The problem is that many don’t stop to ask the most important question – how does another channel enhance the communication of a message and increase the number of people it reaches.  There is an [often incorrect] assumption that more channels = a large audience = more opportunities to sell.  If the message is wrong; the media inappropriate; the ratio of signal to noise incorrect then there’s a significant chance that you’re actually decreasing your chances of communicating effectively with your target audience.

There are four key considerations to the success of any communications programme:

  • What am I trying to communicate?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is the most effective way of engaging with the audience?
  • What does success look like?

If you can’t answer these questions then it’s likely that your campaign will be more noise than signal.  Simply increasing the number of channels you use to communicate your message COULD be reducing its effectiveness.  So, before you start a new campaign it might be worth asking yourself whether you will be generating more signal, or just more noise.