I have an expensive habit when we start working with a new client at The Social Element, of running out and buying as many of that brand’s products as I can find.
I can’t help it, I get so excited about the brand, I want to know all about them. Despite the cost (let’s just say I was very grateful that I already drove a Nissan Qashqai when we started working together!) I think that it’s really important to genuinely care about the brands you work with, and I’m always fascinated by the products they create and the stories behind them.
I chatted to the wonderful Amber Kirby about this on a recent episode of our podcast, Genuine Humans. Amber’s energy is infectious, and she has a real passion for the brands she works with. She’s known for reinvigorating brands, and seeing the value of even the most neglected product lines, dusting them off and making them shine.
It got me thinking about the importance of passionately believing in your brand and its products, and what a difference it can make to a campaign.
The courage to say ‘no’
Sometimes, passion can mean having the courage to speak up when you think the team’s about to take a wrong turn.
A brilliant example of this was when Amber challenged the idea of putting Pringles in bags – rather than the iconic tubes that we all know and love. She was convinced that, in her words, it was a “terrible idea” to use bags. So she spoke up, and thank goodness she did – who could imagine Pringles in anything but those tubes now! She convinced the team to reinvigorate the brand in other ways, such as introducing new flavours and launching innovative and stand-out campaigns to connect with people in a fun and engaging way.
She made me think that by advocating for your brand and its products and services, you might bruise a few egos, and you could be that one lonely voice going against what the rest of the team wants.
But, you could also save a much-loved brand from disaster, revitalise a neglected product or create something new that people just have to try. You could help to create a campaign that lasts decades.
You need data to back up your position
She also made the great point that no matter how confident you are in your opinion, you need data to back up your position. You can do that by listening to your customers and using insights from your community to shape your proposition. If you know what people love about the brand, you can celebrate and harness that passion – this is how you create a strategy that delivers real results.
Sometimes, though, things change, and your strategy should change with them. Even the most beloved brands need to grow and evolve to keep thriving. Keep learning from how customers behave, what products they love, and how you can make a product shine. Amber gave a great example of a one pound curl cream at Boots that people really loved, and it would fly off the shelves, but it hadn’t been given any attention from the brand team. There were so many ‘hero’ products that were neglected, and she changed that, creating campaigns to market them with a little of their backstory or long history. It gave something for people to connect to and most importantly, it boosted sales.
It’s these human stories that power brands.
It might be a one pound hair product, or crisps in a tube, but if it captures people’s imagination, it has the potential to turn round a brand. Being a brand hero is about understanding these stories, listening to what people love, and why -and creating stories and campaigns that connect with people. It’s about passion and bravery, and standing up for what you think is right, and then being able to back that up with real data based on people’s behaviour. Some of the most under-loved and overlooked products could be the real heroes of your next brand campaign.