Brand building is essential to the value and development of your business, and co-founder of The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s leading and largest sales, marketing and advertising group, Ran Neu-Ner says how you do this matters.
Speaking at The Creative Counsel’s “Expect the Unexpected – Cannes Findings” talk, Neu-Ner outlined the five important ways for brands to effectively appeal to their consumer. These are based on the prominent marketing trends Neu-Ner identified at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity held in France in June.
The eight-day festival brings together branded communication professionals from 100 countries, and recognises and celebrates creative excellence in marketing, advertising and other related fields.
Some of this year’s big winners include sports brand Nike, Samsung Electronics, Ford Motor Company, multinational technology company Microsoft and energy drink brand Red Bull.
Million dollar impact on a shoe string budget
While most of the big winners have multi-million dollar advertising budgets, in his breakdown of the most powerful campaigns and branding trends, Neu-Ner explained that creativity does not necessarily require deep pockets; and that while startups may not have the budget of multinational companies, they can still through creative excellence, achieve world class branding and connect in a real way with their customers.
Here are the 5 big trends as identified by Neu-Ner that are being used by some of the world’s biggest companies, and the lessons startups can take from how they are getting it right.
1. Find a way in
Neu-Ner says consumers are burdened with millions of products that are, for the most part, the same. When the brain experiences an overload of sameness, the consumer is unlikely to act, he says.
To counteract this you need to create something that stands out says Neu-Ner. Think outside the box or as if there is no box as the popular saying goes.
This is important because being unique makes it easier for the brain to notice and therefore that the product will elicit a reaction from consumers.
How Orangina did it: Orangina is a oranges and citrus drink. This year the brand introduced the Orangina upside down can when they realised that consumers were forgetting to shake the beverage – which they advise is best enjoyed when shaken. This unusual way of presenting a canned product and forcing the consumer to flip it while simultaneously shaking it earned the brand much consumer recognition.
One of the most effective ways to connect with your consumer is by engaging the heart, says Neu-Ner. This can be successfully achieved through storytelling.
Telling real human stories that consumers can empathise with, he says, creates a connection and evokes emotions that would otherwise not be felt through product stories alone.
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of BrightEdge, a digital marketing company, Jim Yu echoes this in his Huffington Post “Go Beyong Advertising and into Storytelling” article saying “creative storytelling can evoke emotions and generate strong personal connections to a brand, its mission, and ultimately, its products.”
Neu-Ner advises against the use of product stories, saying they often fail to pull the heart strings of consumers as human stories do, and equally fail to create a pathway for a connection.
How Extra Gum did it: In the “Extra Gum: The Story of Sarah and Juan” advert, the product is intertwined with a love story designed to tug at the heart strings.
Neu-Ner calls this impact marketing. He says brands should be of good service and stand for a cause. The goal is to create awareness around a cause, to get people talking and ultimately, to jump on the wagon.
How Burger King did it: To illustrate this point, Neu-Ner gives an example of Burger King’s “We Are All The Same Inside” campaign which was in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. As part of the campaign, the hamburger chain served a limited “Proud Whopper” which was sold in a rainbow-coloured wrapper that is representative of support the LGBT community.
The campaign, which was in conjunction with San Francisco’s 2014 Gay Pride weekend, went viral after attracting social media and media attention
Technology has become an important part of human life, however, the focus is now moving towards humancentric technology, says Neu-Ner. In other words, create a product that will serve or address a real human need.
How Samsung did it: Neu-Ner gives the example of Samsung as having done this successfully. The electronics brand, this year launched “Voices of Life”, an application that connects mothers to their premature babies (who because of needing medical attention stay in hospital and are unable to go home) virtually when they cannot be there physically.
The app captures the mother’s voice and heartbeat, creating a “womb-like” environment for the baby and though virtual, plays a vital role in the connection of mother and baby.
Good work relationships are essential to mutually pushing the envelope of creativity further and further each time with a common goal in mind. Neu-Ner suggests building relationships as partners as opposed to having typical client-agent relationships.
How Ogilvy and Unilever did it: One such fruitful partnership is between The Ogilvy and Mather advertising agency (Brazil) and Unilever, says Neu-Ner. The duo has worked on numerous projects such as the cosmetic brand, Ponds and food brand Hellmanns.
Proof of the duo’s incredible team work is their work on Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign which went viral and walked away with 19 Cannes Lions in 2013.