Brand Brilliance: Why Budweiser Won Hearts and Go Daddy Broke Them

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The Super Bowl and NFL season has gone into hibernation once again and we’re left with watching, in my opinion, a very disappointing array of continuing Super Bowl commercials. There were two commercials that really stood out this year in completely different ways. Before we look at them specifically, lets take a quick look at branding.

The idea of branding continues to mystify even the the companies with multi-million dollar ad budgets. In todays marketplace, brands rely on being funny or quirky with regard to how they create their brand communication. It’s a successful tactic in getting noticed, but how do you stay funny – all the time? Even Kevin Heart tells bad Jokes.

When we look long-term, in these times, there comes a point where your brand has to communicate a deeper set of values – brand purpose. If what you say has to align with what you do, then harnessing your entire brand ecosphere becomes a precious strategy that must be executed with careful decision making.

Or not, if you’re Go Daddy.

Breaking Hearts

Go Daddy, who usually has some pretty cool commercials, took a very heart warming concept and made it one of heartbreak. The commercial had all the makings of a heart tugging storyline of lost and found.

But did that happen?

Yes initially, but ultimately NO!

If you happened to have missed it (because it was pulled immediately –rightfully so) the story was about a puppy who had accidently got thrown from its owner’s truck and had to endure some challenging times to be reunited with its owner. The puppy finally makes its way back to the owner who says, “ I’m so glad you made it home because I just sold you on this website I built by Go Daddy.”

Yikes!

That’s just like Nike saying, “Just Don’t Do it,” or Apple saying, “Think Like Everyone Else.”

It’s Anti-branding, and leaves a scar on your brand that will take a long time to heal.

Good Story, Terrible Ending

They took a potentially great storyline, which 99% of it was great, and spoiled it at the end by not understanding how the marketplace really feels about puppies – adorable, cute and cuddly family members.

Not only was it a $4mill mistake (cost of the ad), but a right hook to the rib cage of Go Daddy’s brand.

Brand messaging counts a great deal, and if you don’t protect it at all costs, your brand equity takes a hit – and they didn’t protect theirs. They basically hung their brand over a hungry den of lions – when they didn’t have to.

Brand stories are important because they capture the human essence of what a business stands for. If the human expression of your brand thinks there’s a funny side to puppy mills, you have been asleep for sometime now, or you believe there’s a funny side to everything. That’s a costly gamble.

Winning Hearts

Budweiser’s commercial has a puppy as its star as well. They decided not risk their brand equity, but instead they created a story that transcended their brand.

If you remember, this was their second installment of the initial commercial they ran during the 2014 Super Bowl where a puppy and horse befriend one another. In this installment the puppy escapes the stable and ends up on an adventurous journey back home. The plot thickens when the puppy is cornered by a wolf (hearts pounding), but the horse along with others come to the rescue of the puppy and is finally reunited with his owner.

Predictable?

Maybe so, but humans can relate to that situation thus creating branded value statement(s);

  •  Friendship
  • Compassion
  • Love
  • Resilience
  • Empathy
  • Family

Your brand can’t lose when you hit all of these emotional strings in a one minute commercial spot.

Budweiser’s brand was not only enhanced by this brand storytelling – because of the millions of views, but deepened its brand purpose and ideals with the general populous.

Take-Away

What your brands says matters, but more important is understanding your marketplace and how they feel about certain things. As we have witnessed, funny works, but context is what makes it work. Budweiser understood this. Go Daddy understood this to a point but failed in execution.

Protect and nurture everything about your brand. The more you protect it, the more people will respect you for it. Don’t gamble with your brand – make sure you not only understand the purpose of your message but its context.

Stay Hungry, Hustle Hard!

 

Gary

What Aspiring Startups And Music Artists Share In Common

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It continues to amaze me that most people feel comfortable in moving in the same current as others. There seems to be a relief in knowing that others are doing the same things. Maybe it’s a mentality of ‘we will all fail or succeed together’ that makes us think in that way.

In business that way of thinking can get you killed – if you are an entrepreneur.

I like to compare the similarities of contrasting business segments. Usually I do so in hopes of finding a similar thread of consistency that propels both segments into success.

Recently, I was thinking how much of a journey to success is similar between aspiring startups and music artists. Both industries seem to operate in a parallel universe where the people with the money are all challenged with investing, or may be even gambling today for a significant return in the future.

Investor vs. Record Label

In most industries there is a person or company that funds the ideas. Record labels fund artists and venture capitalists and investors fund entrepreneurs. Both have limited resources on what they can invest their money in –  which puts extreme pressure on entrepreneurs to develop cool, innovative and useful products and services that deliver significant value to a market segment.

Ideas are cheap, but having a plan, vision and a purpose become prerequisites of those that get funded vs. those who do not. The music artist and the startup have a common responsibility and reality – complete and full differentiation among its competitors. The ‘reality’ part of the equation seems to often elude both, whether it be the music artist or entrepreneur. Many aspiring music artists look in the mirror & tend to give themselves more credit than they deserve, and entrepreneurs fall in that same trap. The judge and jury is the customer and their voice can be heard loud and clear – they either support you with a purchase or they don’t. That’s ultimate metric!

{MJ wrote an article about this here}

To a certain degree, entrepreneurs have a double-sided sword they have to walk; an idea that’s far reaching and maybe too risky versus an idea that’s not innovative enough that gets lost, never to be seen. The closer the entrepreneur and investor are in understanding the realities – the better fit and probably the better outcome will be realized.

 Startups and Music Artists

Initially, the most important thing to know is the approach you will have entering a marketplace and what you want your audience to take away from you.  Kanye West positioned himself as a talented renegade type of artist while Taylor Swift has positioned her self as ‘wholesome’ and ‘Americana.’ Think of it as understanding your brand purpose and building a personality around it. Aspiring startups have the same challenge as music artists – building authenticity and value while increasing their ability to engage with their audience in a unique way.

Though it may be a lot to think about, it’s easier to get that sorted early in your brand development process than to have your target market ‘guessing’ who you are and what you have to offer.

As a music artist has to continually refine their lyrics and several other aspects to their end product, startups are no different. Peter Thiel (PayPal Founder) once said in a video, “ Starting a business is about iteration not laborious research” … he later said, “The latter is cocky and inflexible.”

Translation? Build something, put it out there, and tweak it and repeat until you have a product that is relevant and considerably differentiated from its competitors.

 The Few That Fall Between The Cracks

The very reason you love a particular music artist is the same for brands you love. Great brands don’t always have the coolest products, just like your favorite singer may not have the best voice from a technical standpoint. No matter the physical assets, the brand must communicate certain qualities that embrace the values of their marketplace. It is all about learning how to create a brand personality.

The best explanation of how to create a brand personality is from a video I watched a few years back;

 “ Build up a picture of the kind of brand you think you are. As the brand is learning what it is, It’s also learning what it is not.”

With many startups and music artists, creating a brand personality is often overlooked and usually ignored all together. As  products becoming more blurred, with regard to differentiation, there has to be value established outside of the product or service.

To learn more about this, I suggest watching a short video module I created entitled, 3 Components To designing A Brand Identity.

 The Take-Away

As we can see, startups and music artists have very similar challenges in breaking through and becoming successful. Though a valuable and innovative product or service is the price of entry in building a successful startup, I encourage you to build a soul at the core of your business that reflects the ideals and aspirations of your audience.

Stay Hungry & Hustle Hard!

Gary

5 Brilliant But Simple Ways To Build An Authentic and Relevant Brand

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The world of business has forever changed amidst the numerous platforms and channels that have invaded our personal space with the intent on selling us something. Most companies don’t understand the etiquette or the unspoken rules that govern these prolific social watering holes that we call Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and it’s only a matter of time before they fall victim to a crime that they committed willingly.

A crime usually means someone has broken a rule of some sort- but here the crime is from not taking action, or simply believing you can keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. – INSANITY.

This past weekend I watched a movie with my wife called “Chef,” starring Jon Favreau, with a host of cameo appearances from Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson and many others. The movie captures a super star chef’s journey of success, failure and passion.  This was a small low budget movie with a big message of – Integrity!

This movie can serve as a blueprint for how businesses (small and large) can build great brands with integrity, passion and creativity. Instead of settling for insanity, companies need and must focus every ounce of their existence in relationship building and that involves extreme transparency.

There were 5 brilliant but simple ideas from this movie that will help any business communicate authenticity in a relevant and crystal clear way.

Brand Compass

Like the late great Steve Jobs once said, “What you say no to is just as important as what you say yes to.”  What he was really saying is, don’t compromise yourself or brand on things that don’t add value to it and aren’t aligned with your values. Conviction is simple to talk, but often times harder to walk. Every business goes through a variety of decisions it has to make to increase its ability to survive and hopefully succeed.

Many times the decisions that don’t serve the company well end up diluting its true value and sometimes killing it altogether. Businesses are like people – feed it the right stuff and it will perform – feed it the wrong stuff and its health suffers.

Brand Obsession

Often an over-used word, passion is what people can see and feel. Yes, it’s great to be passionate about what you do, but it is equally important that your marketplace sees your passion. Love is rarely used in business, but it’s the fuel for a business or businessperson. People and companies who leave us spellbound are usually obsessed about something – a cause so to speak.

Why? It’s a state of mind most of us don’t understand because we don’t have one of our own, and we become mesmerized by those who are so single-minded and purposeful. Find your obsession and it will ignite you and your customers.

Note: To learn more about this watch How The World’s Best Have Obsessed Their Way To Success

Brand Service

Underrated and under utilized by most companies – serving is giving unconditionally. Serving is not a marketing concept but rather an authentic expression of your intent and purpose. Making a contribution to your marketplace shows that your mission is not solely on profit, but it reinforces your company as a participating member of the community.

Starbucks is a great example of a company who serves its community, environment and coffee bean growers. Find the community(s) you would like to serve and get involved.

Brand Micro Stories

Now brand experiences can be shared real time. Pictures and videos of what happens within your company can serve as a portal for customers to get a closer peek at the people behind the company. This helps communicate your brand purpose, essence… in a more dynamic and engaging way. Think of each visual piece of your brand as a puzzle that keeps getting bigger, but continually adds up to create a clearer picture of what you’re about.

Brand Socialite

People care and see value in knowing the people behind the company. The best way to engage with your targeted market is to move to the conversations that are relevant to your brand, and become a part of the conversations. But it doesn’t stop there; you can’t just be involved in the conversations- you have to add value to them.

It’s much like a socialite that attends the right events, parties and gathering relevant to his/her business – he/she eventually becomes a valuable resource to that specific cause. Quit throwing darts at a dartboard blind folded and start getting closer to the people and conversations surrounding your business.

Allow people to follow you on your journey, so they can discover what you care about and why.

ALWAYS, HUSTLE HARD

Gary Oneil

 

How To Put The Hustle In Branding

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When most people look at their brand or company, they think of several independent parts moving inside of it. Building a brand that truly matters, however, involves a different perspective in which all parts of the brand are moving and working together as one strategic unit.

Great brands build a cohesive structure of interdependent parts that stimulate a singular purpose and message to its audience.

Ultimately, creating consistency involves looking at your brand through the lens of the various touch-points of the consumer. This includes online as well as offline.

Brand Archaeology

So, this brings me to the “A-Hah!” moment that MJ (my business partner) and I came to recently. We kept asking ourselves,…

“How can we better communicate our brand identity in the most authentic way?” 

A question like this forces you to reflect and perform a type of brand archaeology to discover what’s at the core of what you stand for.

As we kept digging we found out more about our brand, but most importantly we found out more about ourselves. In doing so, we identified our most core competency – HUSTLE!

The Digital Footprint

Hustle isn’t a special trait necessarily, as a lot of us do this throughout our lives. In our case, hustle doesn’t just represent the idea of going for broke in a consistent manner, but includes a strategic and creative prowess that helps create value not only for ourselves but also for the people and companies we work with.

As you can see we have changed our name to Hustle Branding because this captures exactly what we stand for and how we want our brand to be remembered.

Yes, ‘remembered’ … past tense! When building your brand it is important to think of your brand legacy and what it should look like.

This was important for us because aligning our personal values with our brand purpose not only strengthens our message but also creates an authentic and transparent view of our company.

A quote by Elon Musk (inventor of Tesla Motors, Space X) puts it all into perspective with this quote;

“Brand is just a perception, and that perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead,

other times it will be behind. But a brand is simply a collective

impression people have about a product”. 

Ultimately, this quote is simply saying, what you decide to be today will determine how the marketplace will view you tomorrow.

Don’t confuse your audience. Be clear in what you stand for and what you stand against!

Brand Recall

The challenge in today’s digital marketplace is rooted in its sheer size. People don’t take time out to read everything they see. It’s like dating – what usually gets your attention first keeps it. So, your brands first impression matters!

When we decided to change our name to Hustle Branding, it wasn’t to have a cooler name (names don’t add value to peoples lives). It’s an ideology that we want to put out in the world – something to live by – our brand creed.

It’s our job to continue to live by this creed in every aspect of our business.

The Brand Shovel

The only way to realize your brand’s potential is to dig deep down and find your brand’s convictions and make sure they align with your personal values – keep looking in the mirror until you are comfortable with what you and your brand will put out into the world.

This has helped us immensely in understanding our brand focus, and we hope it does the same for you.

What We’ve Learned

Creating a brand that oozes values that the marketplace can identify with and respect is the goal for all of us. It becomes paramount that people can visualize and feel your authenticity as a brand. Many companies don’t start off understanding their true brand calling, and become frustrated when their products and/or services don’t get the attention necessary to build a real business.

Your key brand messaging has to come from a place of authenticity. A strong brand essence built on consistent values will drive brand affinity with your audience.

I encourage you to have a productive day and make sure you don’t forget to….

Hustle Hard!

Gary

 

The “Just Do It” Effect: The Power Of The World’s Most Inspiring Slogan

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Some of the most powerful pieces of advice I have ever heard are very simple but extremely powerful. The first bit of advice was something I was told a very long time ago and at first took offense to, “Keep it simple stupid”. It turned out later to be a phrase that has provided me a blueprint for how I try to live my life.

My entire focus in life is to try to keep things as clear as humanly possible and to try to simplify the complicated to the best of my ability. Continue reading “The “Just Do It” Effect: The Power Of The World’s Most Inspiring Slogan”

5 Ways To Develop Killer Charisma Like Stephen Colbert

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Charisma is a strong and empowering trait that many people want but very few have. To be charismatic is more than being just cool or engaging. A person with charisma captures the full attention of those people he or she comes into contact with in dramatic fashion. They not only get attention, but they do so without asking for it.

We’ve all been in situations where we notice someone as soon as they walk through the door, and our heads turn and our eyes stay glued to them as if we were in a trance. Why do we react this way? Continue reading “5 Ways To Develop Killer Charisma Like Stephen Colbert”

3 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From You Tube Sensation, ‘Psy’

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The golden moment of the internet is when you can produce something that goes viral. But what causes a video to go viral, and can we duplicate this to elevate our own products and services into the viral stratosphere?

The phenomenon of Psy and Gangnam Style Dancing is one the biggest ideas to go viral in recent memory as his video has a jaw-dropping 200 million views in only eight short weeks.  The amazing part is that it comes from an unlikely place… a Korean guy that looks as cheesy as he dresses. I think its great! Continue reading “3 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From You Tube Sensation, ‘Psy’”

Price is What You Pay, Value is What You Get

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Value always seems to be one those words that everyone understands, but very few get. It’s a word that takes on many definitions depending on what business you are in. There are a lot of people out there that associate value with cost and benefits. Just because a price can be set to something, it doesn’t mean it has value. Warren Buffet once said that “price is what you pay and value is what you get.” Continue reading “Price is What You Pay, Value is What You Get”

3 Keys To Customer Acquisition: Creation + Quality + Value

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Online entrepreneurs have the inevitable task of creating content for their audience. The end goal of content is customer acquisition. More people, means bigger lists which hopefully means more green backs.

The conversation regarding content always comes down to quality. In most cases quality is a given in any business. Acquisition is a process made up of 3 components with regard to content. Continue reading “3 Keys To Customer Acquisition: Creation + Quality + Value”