I recently read W&K’s Honda effectiveness paper from 2005. They raise a really interesting point regarding the hypocrisy of how we look at brands.
On the one hand we try our hardest to talk about brands as if they are a living person. We talk about their personality, their beliefs, their values and the conversations and interactions they have with consumers.
On the other, we try and describe brands in just a couple of words – ‘witty & irreverent’ ‘enthusiastic & informed’ ‘sophisticated & optimistic’.
They argue we wouldn’t talk about a real person in this way. If brands are like people, we need to embrace the fact there is more to them than a couple of words.
In many ways I think they’re right.
We do need to embrace the complexity of brands. Whilst a single ad execution may communicate a single message, it is still jam packed with nuances and subtleties that add up to a bigger picture. A more complex picture. And with lots of executions across lots of channels over many years, that’s one complex picture!
And I also agree – two or three words to describe a brands personality clearly isn’t enough.
But a couple of sentences would probably do it wouldn’t it? I think all of us could describe a person we know reasonably well in a two or three hard working sentences.
So why not a brand?
Then when we actually produce the ads, they’ll fill in all of the gaps.