There’s a new level of ‘cool’ for brands. Being so famous on the shape of your logo alone that the company name is just a distraction on your marketing. Audiences know who you are by your colour, shape and size.
MasterCard has embraced it (two interlinking circles, red on the left, yellow on the right); Starbucks has drowned its brand name (white siren sat within a green circle); and now Doritos. Why? Because young people, living in a fast track, streamable world, aren’t turned on by advertising.
Doritos has gone so far as to launch an anti advert, as part of its Another Level campaign, which sees it scrap its brand name and logo – confident that the triangular chip is so iconic it’ll sell itself.
Of course, it will have taken years of mass market ‘logo everywhere’ campaigns to enable the PepsiCo owned company to get to this point.
But is it more than a gimmick? Are brands like Doritos simply responding to consumers’ wants and needs?
To Gen Z, Millennials and anyone else who doesn’t have time to linger on decisions, advertising’s a blocker. They’re looking for quick exits and ‘skip’ opportunities when consuming media, and those that don’t deliver are deemed inauthentic.
So, maybe it’s time to tear up the rule book.
It’s a new world for marketers, which demands bravery. The industry has a solid foundation in effective theory, thanks to organisations such as the CIM and the IPA. But, is this theory evolving at the same rate as society?
I’m far too liberal for my own good. That, coupled with specialising in digital marketing, means I’m always testing and learning, refining and improving. So, maybe that’s why I’m comfortable with ‘failing fast’. There is no one route to success and, at the same time, there is.
I’m chasing the optimum conversion rate. But, half of the fun is getting it right, the other in getting it wrong.
Of course, digital’s cost-effectiveness and sophisticated targeting capabilities means there are fewer risks – unlike traditional marketing.
But, that’s no reason to be afraid.
Earlier this year, I was involved in running brand focus groups for a youth charity, talking to young people who have benefitted from the support it offers. I shared some creative visuals with the 16 to 25-year-olds, including mock out-of-home adverts, social media graphics and website examples and they clearly said that an overload of messaging was ‘desperate’ sales.
And, these people should know. They’re the best brand managers in the business (often managing multiple social media accounts at a time).
So, strip it back. Right back.
Focus on your shape, not your slogan.
Just check out your smartphone’s frequently used emojis and think about how many clear messages you can convey with just a few symbols. Whether we like it or not, we’re becoming increasingly comfortable with using illustrations to say how we feel. And when we do, we’re often understood.
Now, I’m not recommending you change your brand off the back of a few focus groups. That’s a little too democratic for even my liking. But, use their insight to consider your strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities.
Rather than giving consumers all the answers, why not encourage them to ask the questions? That way, you’ll not only develop a stronger, credible relationship with the ‘intenders’ who can understand your brand for what it is, but also begin to take them on a journey. It all starts with brand confidence.
Take baby steps and don’t expect to get it right every time. But, be prepared to soak up some of the rewards, while having some fun along the way.