December 03, 2009

Delusional Branding Campaigns and Me

Marketing people and companies go on and on about brands. Unfortunately, most have little to no clue about how powerful brands are actually built. They think you do it with "branding" campaigns.

At some point, every too-big company gets the irresistible urge to do one of these branding campaigns.

As far as I’m concerned, this is just fine.

The branding campaign will be a bit of innocuous blather . No animals will be harmed. No products will be sold. Some big dumb agency will make a nice piece of change. Some media reps will keep their jobs for another six months. And a bunch of actors, photographers, and maybe even a few musicians will have a nice payday. So far, so good.

Sadly, there's a downside. Somewhere along the line, someone will decide that what the  campaign needs to say is that the company is just like me.

Sometimes their personality is just like me. Sometimes they understand me. Sometimes they even are me.

Now, I know me better than they do. And one thing I know for sure is that these companies are nothing like me. They don't eat really big meatball sandwiches like me. They don't do crossword puzzles at 3 a.m. like me. And they don't hate Whoopi Goldberg like me.

Right now, there are three too-big companies who’ve decided that they are just like me.

Yahoo! has my personality. And HTC cell phones "get" me. And Microsoft thinks they are me.

So here’s a tip for too-big companies planning to do a branding campaign.

I know and understand why your campaign is going to be a cliché-ridden, pointless, smelly pile of doody. That’s what most branding campaigns are. That’s fine. I've got no problem with that. It’s good for the economy. Go ahead and do it.

But, please, leave me the hell out of it.

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