Branding is a Slow Burn


I know a good thing when I see it. When White Knuckle Studios Producer Paul Powers asked me to look over a draft of his most recent blog, I found it to be excellent and timely, and was allowed to contribute to the content. It’s amazing how much we marketing professionals can preach the same sermons! I’m honored to share it here in my column space. It’s interactive with YouTube videos and I highly recommend watching all three.
I love commercials. I know…I’m the odd man out. In fact, I’ll share a little secret with you: when I watch TV, I mostly skip the shows and look for the ads.
I’ve noticed that big names do Branding commercials while small businesses create informational commercials. This got me to thinking, and here’s what I came up with regarding the differences.
1. Branding creates a feeling
Watch the Got Milk Diner Commercial (1996) on YouTube. An informational commercial would have started by listing the health benefits of milk, continued with telling you where you can buy it, and finished with a call to action (i.e. Drink Milk because it’s good for you.) Compare the above with this commercial: Matt Dillon 1982 Milk Commercial.
Which one gave you more information? Which one are you likely to remember when you are at the grocery store thinking about what to buy? (Matt Dillon tells us, “don’t forget it,” but I’m pretty sure you already have.)
2. Branding is slower
If you want a quick burn with immediate results (i.e. a sale or event) then informational is the only way to go. Just tell people Who, What, When, Where and Why. But as Roy H. Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” asks, do you really want to train people to wait for a sale, or do you want them to buy from you because they love your brand?
If you are looking to build a presence in a product category, or a reputation in a geographical market–if you want people feel your weight–then informational ads will be watched and forgotten before people even know who you are.
When you think about Nike, do you think about what kind of rubber they use on their soles or how cool their laces are? Does Nike have to convince you that they are quality by listing their manufacturing process? No, you feel something that has been faithfully added to and built upon for decades; they have created trust by the very weight of their brand.
3. Branding uses association
Nike associates their products with the biggest names in sports. Milk associates itself with obsessive desire. By the time they get to their slogan, Got Milk, the idea of living without it is unthinkable.
Unlike Nike, most businesses can’t afford even one minute of LeBron’s time, but with some skillfully-crafted creativity, they can create other powerful associations that are cheap or free. If you make quality knives, for example, then you can spend your advertising dollars associating your brand with the types of gourmet foods that your clients want to cook. If you make custom dog collars, then associate your brand with the special bonding that happens between dogs and their loving owners.
The most powerful branding moves the viewer to think, “I want to be that person; I want to live that life.” Check out Spot Anuncio Nike Presents Just Do It Possibilities on YouTube. Which sports fan doesn’t fantasize about being at the front of the pack, or the top of the key, making the winning slam dunk and having the fans go wild? Nike ads strongly associate their brand with some of the most powerful images known to sports fans.
The stronger the associations, the more powerful the emotions; the more powerful the emotions, the deeper your ads will impact the soul.
4. Branding lasts longer
Since association and emotion are functions of the subconscious mind, they stay with the viewer for much longer than mere facts and figures (which reside in the intellect).
5. Few things can impact the soul like video
SO here it is…the shameless sales pitch. (Not really.)
While strongly crafted words, or a beautiful image can affect the soul, the medium of video is uniquely poised to impact the emotions of the viewer and help them temporarily suspend their filters. This is something I strongly believe.
Take your cues from how the big brands concept their ads, and focus on building brand loyalty through emotional connections, rather than going in for the kill with less effective informational ads. As marketing legend, David Ogilvy said, “Don’t bunt; aim out of the park. Aim for the company of immortals.”
Kelly Walker is creative director for Intrepid Marketing, a leading Bend marketing agency. For more information, contact Kelly at 541-419-9976 or
Paul Powers is a producer at WK Studios and currently resides in Bend with his beautiful wife and daughter.

(Photo above | Courtesy of Intrepid Marketing)


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