Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Is Your Brand Made By Your Audience?

You'd better hope so.
There’s an interesting book about the decline of advertising jingles by a former composer of them, Steve Karmen: “Who Killed The Jingle?” He argues that jingles died off because of laziness and a desire to save money just reusing pop songs that fit the mood of an ad. In his opinion jingles were and are an important way of making a campaign feel personal.

You might have noticed that this isn’t a popular opinion in the advertising world.

The general consensus is that jingles died because they were trite, annoying, and ineffective.
Treating the audience like children isn’t good enough in the 21st century. It may stick in the mind but it doesn’t move the heart.
So jingles are out. And most would say good riddance to them.
But there is a useful point to remember. Not about jingles themselves, but something that they stood for.

Personalisation and differentiation.

That's the one advantage of a jingle over a pop song; if people engage with it, there’s no way that people aren’t also engaging with the brand.
Jingles may be dead, but the idea that campaigns should have a personal touch that resonates between the brand and the audience is one that is happily alive and well.

It's all about showing that your brand is engaged with its audience.

Apple has made a powerful push in this direction with its latest campaign. “Shot On iPhone 6” says it all. In just a few words it makes the message all about the audience, drawing them in, and telling them that all they need to make art is an iPhone camera.
Truly I have never felt so torn between iPhones and vintage cameras in my quest for self-expression.
It’s a campaign which is very Apple. And yet it’s also very recognisably human. We all get that proud moment of taking a beautiful photo on our let’s-be-honest-really-not-a-proper-camera-because-it’s-on-a-phone. And Apple may be selling its phones, but it’s doing so by celebrating the audience as much as the product.

Converse, though, takes it to another level.

As a brand that’s on the up at the moment, growing strongly, it clearly feels confident in its messaging by Anomaly. 
How Converse reflects that is in stripping down its campaign. Not by leaving it content-light. But by cutting everything down to a simple idea that everyone can relate to, and that brings the audience into the heart of the message.
“Made By You” is a celebration of the customised nature of so many pairs of Converses. It features celebrity fans of the past and explores (with some pretty nifty VR work) their lives – putting you semi-literally in their shoes. That’s a pretty clever initiative in and of itself, bringing you into the world of a brand.
The true strength is in that core message though. “Made By You” isn’t really about celebrities or single iconic moments. It’s about the day-to-day experiences of any individual person who wears a pair of Converses – their own specific pair.
It’s a crowd-sourced campaign – and these customisations were happening without the brand being involved to begin with – but Converse embraced it and took that fact to heart. It brought people into the campaign from across the globe.

After all, it comes down to a very human truth. It's when we mess with our shoes, customise them – or even just damage and scuff them up – that we really feel that they are ours.

Each pair of Converses really is "made" by their owner.

Moving beyond the all-American, basketball-ish focus of the past for a more flexible, reactive brand has worked well for Converse in the past few years. Perhaps it reflects the hipsterisation of so much of retro style – that everything has to be ‘niche’ and exclusive in some way.
And yes. Some of them are pretty niche.
But Anomaly with Converse has taken those ideas on and lifted them. Because it’s not about being exclusive or aloof. It’s about the personal, one-to-one connections that form the relationship between the brand and each user.
Any brand worth its salt should want to build that kind of relationship with its audience. It sends the message that you view your customers as singular, important individuals, rather than as a crowd of the average.

And with Made By You, Converse wears that message well.

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