Looking ahead for the rest of 2016, let’s take a look at some of the major branding methods that have and haven’t worked throughout the past several months. From restaurants to video production companies, it’s important to stay on your toes with the latest branding strategies.
As a quick note, a “brand” very broadly refers to the public’s perception of a company’s existence. This mainly includes the company logo, name, slogan, and general connotations from public relations. When a company “re-brands,” it is tossing away its old image for a fresh one. There’s a few ways to do this, and to just improve a brand’s image.
How do you Brand a Product?
The music streaming war has been a roller-coaster of successes, failures, and acquisitions. Tidal, Jay-Z’s streaming service that struggled through much of last year, has managed to stay afloat via the branding method of exclusivity. This entails a brand having the exclusive or sole rights to a product or service that the rest of the competition doesn’t have access to. In the case of music streaming, this means that consumers are essentially forced to subscribe to and become a member of Tidal if they want the exclusive perks of the service, like Kanye West’s latest album or music video. This strategy is being used by all of the major streaming companies now, including video streaming brands like Netflix and HBO GO, and it is stirring up a stand-off dynamic of who can have the best and most exclusives. Although this strategy has irked many consumers who simply subscribe to a service for one month and then quit, Tidal -the underdog- has managed to stay alive, which is more than most aspiring streaming services can say.
What is a Brand Strategy?
For most of the last decade, the big 3 sport apparel companies (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour) have utilized similar brand messages to sell products. All of them have made sponsorship contracts with elite athletes and centered marketing around themes of being the best and most competitive athlete. Nike was the surefire king of this war until recently, when Under Armour stripped the rug from under the competition and embraced messages of the underdog grind and female empowerment. Unsurprisingly, Under Armour has topped Adidas in revenue, because they are offering a different brand image than the competitors. Thanks to sponsorship deals with athletes who are not yet champions, Under Armour has a new defiant mantra that any passionate underdog can get behind.
Strategic Brand Building
If your company is preaching to the choir, 2016 is the year to prove that your company really does act on said preaching. Outdoor sporting good companies like REI and Eastern Mountain Sports have put their own spin on branded content and developed multiple programs and content sources to illustrate their support for outdoor enthusiasts. REI created a feature on their website that draws out biking trails, and both companies have launched video marketing campaigns to promote outdoor thrill seekers in a partnership with GoPro. The cameras are strapped to an athlete’s helmet as they zoom down a mountain, providing some riveting entertainment along with great PR points, because these companies are walking the walk.
The video game industry is full of consumers who have neither sympathy nor patience for video game developers that ignore them. Over the course of 4 years, Infinity Ward, the company behind the best-selling Call of Duty franchise, has managed to become the punch line of industry jokes. While the company once created innovative and beloved video games about modern warfare, Infinity Ward now biennially creates entries about the far-flung future that no one wanted. In fact, the trailer for the newest Call of Duty coming out this year is now the most disliked trailer in the history of YouTube. Not one to pass up on a grand opportunity, another game developer, DICE, decided to finally listen to gamers begging for an entry in the past, such as in World War II. The company actually took it a step further, as their new game will be set in World War I, and its trailer is the most liked in all of YouTube history. Not only is this fantastic YouTube marketing, but it’s also an illustration of the great things that happen when you listen to your primary consumers (or clients in the case of Boston video production).
As a final note, all of these branding methods require continuous monitoring throughout the duration of a campaign. Don’t just release an idea into the mass market and expect it to fly, even if the video production quality is stellar. Release it, and then regularly observe and take notes to see what is and what is not working. In the fluctuating digital market, a video marketing company can decide whether a campaign gets off to a hot start and suddenly crashes, or if it has a slow start and suddenly explodes depending on how the campaign is carried post-launch.