Gold nuggets of out of the box brand thinking
I am part of a tribe!

I am part of a tribe! A tribe of women who encourage, support and uplift each other. The group is called LBDG – Little Black Dress Group (Little Black Dress Group) and once a quarter, a number of us Platinum members get together for a day of learning and planning .
Apart from catching up with some beautiful friends who I haven’t seen for most of the summer, we were educated and entertained by the very enigmatic and effervescent Kieran Flanegan from the Impossible Institute. Aside from being wildly entertaining, Kieran has a mind like no other. She sees solutions where others see problems, and it’s no wonder that her and her business partner Dan, have built a name for themselves in the advertising industry. Here are a few gold nuggets that I learnt from Kieran.

Humans don’t like change

I’ve been saying this for a long time, so it was refreshing to hear Kieran say it too. By nature, humans don’t like change. So as an innovative business trying to break into a market, how do you go about educating people on something that might involve them having to change their habits, environment or routine? Kieran referred to when Facebook changes their layout – the entire world seems to go up in arms about it.

The Creative Fringe - co-working and shared office Penrith - brand

I would like to bring this example a little closer to home for me. In April 2014 we opened the doors to Penrith’s first co-working venue, The Creative Fringe. Everyone loves the idea, but not as many people came running to our door. This is because it is such a different concept for the people of Penrith. It challenges their status quo and lures them away from their kitchen table office or the routine of hours on public transport – which they may not like, but they are comfortably used to.
The interesting thing about change, is that after you become used to it, the change becomes the norm – until something else comes along. The reality is that we live in a world that is changing on a daily basis around us. To be competitive and relevant as brands, we need to ensure that we change or at least move with the times. As with all things relating to change, there will be early adopters. Embrace this audience, allow them to revel in your forward thinking and encourage them to become ambassadors for your brand.

Own your brand short comings

Kieran told us the story of how Coca-Cola launched the energy drink ‘MOTHER’ into the Australian market. The taste was so awful that consumers were describing the taste as (and Kieran’s words were far more descriptive) – a combination of vomit and urine! After a quick Google search I found other little gems such as; “tastes like shit, I had one sip and threw it in the bin”, “It was foul to be more to the point, foul and with the most strange of aftertastes”, “I’ve heard nothing but horrible things. You’ve gotta wonder how it got past market testing etc if it tastes so shit.”

Coca-Cola clearly had a problem with this product. When they approached Kierans’ team to help fix this mess, their only solution was to own it. Here is the advert that they went to air with after fixing up the taste.

By owning their short comings, MOTHER was able to turn it’s product around and gain traction in the market.

This can however backfire, as I believe it has with Telstra wanting to be famous for their customer service – well they are already famous for it, but just not the way they want to be! ‘Famous for their customer service’ might be what they want to achieve, but in reality who can say they have had a good telco experience? Their trilogy of famous people adverts featured Jessica Mauboy, Jimmy Barnes and Magda Szubanski, and was about representing the brands cultural shift and new commitment to its customers. They are on the right track in knowing their clients ‘pain point’ but I still get a headache when I have to deal with them. Maybe that’s just me?

Don’t worry about offending

Off the back of the MOTHER advert, Kieran proudly admitted that it received so many complaints (it’s getting noticed) as people didn’t like the violence, that it got banned. Seriously? Here is the clever advert that they created as a tongue in cheek retort.

The reality is that the percentage of people that you end up offending is minute compared to the connection or cut through that you get when you tell it as it is. Kieran had a number of examples which I won’t share incase you get the opportunity to listen to her, but the one that got us all involved was this advert on female equality. How is this advert when it comes to cut through and getting the message across!

So how are you going to get your brand noticed? Do you forge ahead with your forward-thinking, change making concept, step up and own your space or say what you want to say without worrying about the petty people? It doesn’t matter which you choose, the point is that you need to do something. Take action for your brand!

Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker

Written by our Creative Director & Branding Specialist Debbie O'Connor - Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker

Published: Feb 9th, 2016