By Neil Williamson, Grumpy Marketing Guy
Every brand identity has a weakness. There are some stronger brands that have the lingo of the day over take them, others find what once was a strength is now perceived as a weakness, and finally some brands find their brand identity has obscured their product.
Many years ago a small businessman started a pest control service, Pest Management Services. In the intervening thirty years the initials PMS came to have a totally different meaning. As his business was a low margin business rather than renaming the business, he simply asked his associates to change their verbiage to use the term “Pest Management’ rather than the initials — a quick, free fix.
Located in Seoul Korea, it’s hard to believe that the World Taekwondo Federation is unaware of the urban slang that their acronym (and colorful logo) represent in much of the western world. Either they have too much vested in the logo, or they don’t care. If I were advising WTF I would encourage a two step process change the logo then rework the name.
For several years, Dunkin Doughnuts were known for their ubiquitous commercials touting time to make the doughnuts. Their story was fresh baked doughnuts made by real people who got out of bed just to bake your doughnuts — until doughnuts became a dietary target and no matter how freshly baked people were trending to Starbucks for coffee and leaving Dunkin in the lurch. Time for a brand revamp. What are people stopping for? Coffee (and a pastry) what is the biggest drawback to Starbucks — the line. Bring on a new brand position that brings in patriotism, hints at health and productivity – America runs on Dunkin’.
I had nothing to do with this campaign but I have to believe it was a tough sell — “you plan to use fitness to sell doughnuts?” . I consider this to be one of the strongest brand pivots in recent memory.
Losing Yourself to Your Brand
One of the fundamental marketing challenges is to develop a memorable brand identity that complements the product without obscuring the product (and the consumer benefits). The most successful brands see their brand come into common place use for the product. Sunkist Oranges are a good example of a brand name that speaks to the product. Now what about the King campaign for Burger King.
This well funded campaign never managed to capture the campy image it wanted. Instead the ceramic headed king started showing up places one would not want their brand associated (strip clubs, etc) and parents complained loudly that the iconic figurine was “creeping out their kids”
One might ask how Ronald McDonald might be perceived in today’s culture rather than the mid sixties era he was launched. In this case, Burger King dethroned the King and most folks thought they waited too long.
If you do a 360 degree review and focus on what you do well, speedy service, great coffee, excellent value build your brand position base on strength of you unique selling position — and don’t be afraid to modify that position as time moves forward.
Neil Williamson, Grumpy Marketing Guy
Photo Credits: World Taekwondo Federation, Dunki’n Doughnuts, hubze.com