Are You Talking to Me?

Sing_It_Kitty_Three_video-461076I overheard a conversation about the new ad for mobile phone provider, ‘3’, the other day.  You know the one?  With the little girl on the bicycle, the singing kitten and the (until recently) mostly forgotten ‘80s rock ‘classic’? The conversation went something like this:

Man 1: “I don’t get the point of it’

Man 2: “I think the point is that there is no point.”

Man 1: “So why do an ad like that?”

Man 2: “It’s for the brand isn’t it.”

Man 1: “Doesn’t say anything about the brand to me.”

Actually, there is a point here and the people I overheard were missing it.  The ad isn’t about building a brand for 3; it’s about disseminating the brand. 3 is a youth-driven, techno-generation brand so, while many people may be familiar with the ad from seeing it on TV, the real power behind it is in the YouTube hits and shares it generates amongst a demographic who, largely, spend much more time online than they do watching TV.

And that’s the thing with brands: they not only need to have a strong identity that is consistent across all marketing and business activities, they also need to have an audience-specific identity that is consistently relevant to that audience. So, while the singing girl and cat ad has creative appeal to a generation that routinely wiles away hours watching comedy cat videos, rediscovering old tunes and laughing at bizarre nonsense, my grown up, sensible commentators were not just unmoved by it but positively perplexed.

For any company contemplating their brand, it’s essential to define the brand’s audience and understand their perceptions, preferences and prejudices. Without these insights into what your audiences think and how they behave you cannot hope to build a brand that is meaningful to them.  Nor can you expect to communicate your brand in a way that is relevant to them.

In short, you must know who you’re talking to and they must know that you’re talking to them.  Otherwise, you might just as well give them a singing cat on a bicycle.