Thursday, February 14, 2008

Brand friendships... sweet or sour?

I think brands working together to create their own stories could be a bit of a threat to traditional advertising in the future. The thing is that a great meeting of companies can create mutual benefits and its own news where, in the best examples, very little communication is needed. You can do much of it virtually for free. And as they say in groups of three one always gets a left out. I can see how this might be the agencies who have until now been the owners or at least champions of brand value creation capabilities. Think apple + Nike which is a great example of 1+1= 3,4 or even 5. So what would be the rules? Can it work out for just any brand pairing and lead to consumers seeing the value?

A friend of mine sent me a link damning the launch of Opera Mini (web browser but shrunk down for mobile phones,) which was launched via a partnership with Mini. He is a cynical journalist so I thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt. On the surface there is a natural fit between what they want to say to people i.e. 'small and cool,' but actually there is nothing in common at all in the user experience i.e. web browsing on your phone is probably an arrestable offense if making a call gets you three points and a fine. It sits as close to the surface as you can get but has nothing more to offer up.

Whereas another example that I found recently which on the surface seems ridiculous, sits perfectly as a brand partnership when you boil it down.
Poetry publishing and Breakfast cereal..? Now there's lateral thinking. After a number of consecutive years sitting down day after day to read the same ingredients list, the same nutritional data, and the slightly varying antics of an advertising character relic, how refreshing or even enlightening it would be to wake up to better appreciation of poetry. And all this in one of the few moments where you are contained and rooted enough to give it whirl.

So then what would the learning be?

Choose your friends by starting with the consumer experience that you deliver, and then ask whether or not this new introduction would in itself add to or enhance this experience. If not then you won't create additional value, you will just create hot air and no balloon. Mini-Opera (unless I have missed something,) is an example of this. And while you are at it you could look at pretty much any marketing decision you make through this lens!

1 comment:

Faris said...

you can tell the measure of a brand by the company it keeps