Here are seven notes every brand should scale.
So imagine that you’re a conductor. In the middle of a park. Standing on the edge of your band stand. You’re accompanied by an erudite group of musicians proficient in their instrument of choice. They all know the score. But you know the audience. That’s the lot loitering in the park, looking at you with the passive amusement reserved for animals in a zoo. And why not? You’re oddly dressed, surrounded by a chorus of alien sounds, caged for entertainment, and making a living by being out of place and out of your comfort zone. If this sounds like advertising, it is.
Because as a brand manager, you know that the secret of reaching hearts is through the power of feelings. And as a conductor, you know how to orchestrate those feelings. Which is why the Great Brand Stand is composed of seven key notes. Each note, if tuned, stretched and struck with felicity will lie in perfect order and pitch a perfect melody. But should even one note fall out of place, it takes your reputation with it. So you tap your podium. Take a deep breath. And begin:
Note 1. Does it inspire?
At first glance, your brand should inspire choice and trigger the imagination. Send it out into the world beautifully dressed, immaculately groomed, harnessed for attention and adulation.
Note 2. Does it deliver?
Can your brand’s cosmetics deliver the cosmic? Charisma, after all, only goes as far as character. Your brand’s promise should be as hard to break as its quality, reliability and reason for being.
Note 3. Does it standout?
It’s easy to be a star at home. But to standout in a galaxy comes with self-luminous brilliance; with the kind of personality we can trust to help us navigate and see the world around us more clearly.
Note 4. Is it meaningful?
With the fragmentation of traditions, brands (or, ideas that brands stand for) are providing us with contemporary life’s governing ideas. How does your brand strike its chord of relevance?
Note 5. Is it entertaining?
It’s amazing how many cultivated professionals excel at cultivating boredom. Boredom never sold anything. When you bore people, they fall asleep. And nobody buys anything when they’re asleep.
Note 6. Does it conspire?
Every institution (including friendship, marriage, etc.) has its share of indelible secrets. This bond excites a daily dose of loyalty. What’s the secret, binding ingredient — the kick — in your brand?
Note 7. Is it consummate?
And, lastly, is your brand the best that it can be? Is it really without equal? Does it leave your prospects wanting more? Is every inch of its emotional landscape groomed, managed and policed?
That’s it. You’ve scored. But isn’t all of this just a little too ‘musical’? Where are the hard numbers? The concrete objectives? The solid, quarterly results that prove without doubt that all this emotional laissez-faire has a place in business?
May be Sir Colin Marshall, who inherited a sluggish and brittle brand, can help answer how he transformed it into “the world’s favourite airline.” British Airways understood that it was dealing with people’s impressions and feelings. In fact, all of us in this business do. But that’s very little concrete evidence to go by — as your sales guys and accountants will not miss an opportunity to tell you. But impressions and feelings prove that people don’t actually buy an object (they never have). People buy an experience. BA clearly realised that their product was not a seat but more comprehensively an experience being orchestrated across the airline. “That orchestration,” Sir Colin Marshall explains, “is the brand.”
Over to you, Mr. Conductor. Play that song, once more, with feeling.