Yesterday I read an article about some airlines’ initiatives to make it easier for passengers to sit next to someone they would find interesting, while other airlines make it easier to increase the chances of a smooth flight by not having anyone sit on the next let sit.
Most people probably have a fondness for it. They either want to chat with someone interesting on a long flight, or they prefer to retreat to solitude. The feelings of those who don’t care are undoubtedly of lesser intensity than the feelings of those who like or hate either of these options.
Indifference does not motivate. attraction and repulsion are.
And that’s why blandness and similarity to competitors have so little power when it comes to publicity, word of mouth, and customer retention. By not attracting attention by trying to target everyone and their uncle, companies have little or no energy costs. They are hardly noticeable and recede into the background.
However, bolder branding works because it doesn’t try to please everyone. It aims to please those it has defined as ideal customers. When done intelligently, those who like the bolder branding really, really like it. Those who don’t like it don’t count. You’re not a loss because Likers are more likely to stay, tell their like-minded friends and colleagues about the company, and promote the company and its products through articles, tweets, blog posts, and media coverage.
You can certainly take bold branding too far — for example, by making it offensive in a way that shames the company and its fans. That being said, bold branding aimed at the desired customer base is very smart.
Branding elements include the company name, tagline, and personality a company takes on, along with dozens of other elements.
Start bold branding by realizing who the name or any other branding element needs to appeal to and whose opinion doesn’t matter at all. Warm up creatively by identifying other companies and ad campaigns that you see are targeting the same audience. Also, identify their polar opposites—companies and campaigns that would make your target market cringe or turn away.
Then, while you’re brainstorming for new ideas, hang these desirable and undesirable images on the wall as a reminder that you’re not trying to please the world at large or yourself when you’re coming up with ideas. They try to reach a specific group of people who have specific skills, attitudes, values and preferences. Above all, do not vote on branding items in public or allow anyone’s opinions to count in any way. Instead, create a set of criteria that you can use to separate ideas that fit the right profile from those that don’t.
If you can keep your eyes on the goal, ditch boring me-too branding elements and choose bold names, slogans, personas, and more with just the right kind of magnetic charge.