Thursday, 25 August 2011

Are the wheels falling off your brand experience? A cautionary tale…

I love my bike. I shouldn’t, but I do. When I tenderly lifted it out of its packaging just after it had been delivered to me I was shocked and disgusted to find bubbles of rust beneath the paint, at the top of the forks. There shouldn’t have been rust on it, I bought it from new. And, when I’m charging up and down the roads and towpaths of East Herts the chain, more often than not, will unceremoniously slip off, leaving me coasting with my legs spinning like Wylie Coyote’s after he’s discovered he’s run out of road. Even though I end up with greasy hands after every trip; even though the saddle was designed by medieval torturers; and even though there are no gears and only one brake: I love this bike. It’s obviously a bag of spanners and I was so obviously ‘done’ out of £100 but I think I look great on it. You see, it’s one of those ‘sit up and beg’ bikes that you find in Amsterdam. You know the type: swept back handlebars and trendy light grey, skinny tyres. It’s the type of bike that only harmless eccentrics would buy, and that’s precisely why I bought it. There was no advert that persuaded me to buy it – I deliberately hunted it down on eBay. It was the next piece in the jigsaw of the brand vision that I had created for myself. Instead, I’ve been let down by a sub-standard product which has left me fixing my bike on the side of the road while other really trendy Home Counties dudes with more common sense than me vroom past and scatter me with dust in their brand new cabriolets. So learn from my mistake: if you want your brand to succeed, invest in it properly. Posted by Andy Cording, Brand Experiences Account Manager

Friday, 19 August 2011

Brand Experience: Reality bites for Abercrombie & Fitch

As far as live events go, the American reality TV show Jersey Shore is (for anyone under the age of 25) a global success. Never the less, as far as branded events go, the fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch are adamant it won’t be an event with their logo slapped all over it. So appalled are they with the behaviour of the show’s star, Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino that this week they have reportedly paid him significant sums of money NOT to wear their clothes on screen in order to protect the brand they have spent millions of dollars cultivating. Given that this show is adored by fans all over the world you can see why they're getting a little hot under their preppy, pastel coloured polo collars.

Is this simply a highly effective bit of brand PR during the annual summer news slowdown (this subject was even deserving of 5 minutes airtime on BBC Radio 4!) or, heaven forbid, the beginning of an anti-sponsorship phenomenon?  Historically, brands have had ultimate control about whose svelte or ripped bodies their brands are seen on, but with the advent of YouTube and 24 hour rolling reality churning all spectrums of suspect behaviour out of our screens, brands could quickly find themselves having to spend more and more of their time and money in the bizarre situation of 'unpromoting' their products.

Not all brands have had the foresight or frankly the guts to do this - do you remember when Daniella Westbrook accessorised her whole life in Burberry? A&F, however, have always been outspoken and never shied away from telling the public what it feels which is why I think the much anticipated PR backfire won’t necessarily happen. Whether you think them arrogant or not, A&F have laid a very clear marker in the sand by stating that they are certainly not associated with the common 'dross' of reality television and instead are the exclusive label for those preppy enough to turn their backs on the quick fix of fame reality TV promises.

Now, where did I put my matching Burberry sock and underwear set?

Posted By Andy Cording, Brand Experiences Account Manager at The MotivAction Group

Friday, 12 August 2011

…and the best branded world record goes to...

I stumbled across this list of world records set by some of the world's biggest brands the other day, as part of their brand communications campaigns.

At number four, in homage to one of Belgium’s most famous export:

To mark the release of The Smurfs 3D movie, Sony created Global Smurfs Day. Eleven countries, including the UK, helped set a record for 'The largest gathering of Smurfs in 24 hours', with 4891 people donning blue paint and Smurf hats for the occasion.

At number three, one of the more bizarre parties I wish I’d been invited to:

IKEA set a record for the 'Largest crayfish party', with 4967 people attending events at 19 stores in the UK and Ireland. The crayfish party is a Swedish festival to mark the start of the crayfish season and is usually accompanied by copious amounts of schnapps.

At number two, one bar bill I’m glad I didn’t pick up:

The Antique Wine Company set a record for the 'Most expensive bottle of wine'. The item in question was a standard 750ml bottle of 1811 Chateau d'Yquem, which was sold for £75,000.

And finally, my favourite:

Warner Bros created the 'Longest red carpet at a film premiere' for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. It stretched 455m from Trafalgar Square to Leicester Square in London.

Posted by Andy Cording, Brand Experiences Account Manager

Good Brand Ambassadors are Vital to Brands

I attended a really fascinating workshop this week run by Karen, our Account Director for a major telecomms client. Our team at MotivAction are running some store openings around the UK and part of that process involves us selecting talented young brand ambassadors to be the face of our client during the launch. What was pleasing to see was a) just how bright, enthusiastic and eager our ambassadors are and b) just how much work our team puts into training them.

However, the aspect of the workshop that really stuck in my mind was Karen's talk about brands. It was a very insightful overview about the fact that a company or organisation's brand is so much more than simply their logo. She reminded them that our client’s brand is actually the way the organisation is perceived by their customers; the way the brand behaves and the things it represents. It just seemed to sum up quite nicely everything that MotivAction works so hard to achieve on behalf of its clients.

Posted by Andy Cording, Brand Experiences Account Manager