When you gave the brief to your branding agency, did you ever say: “I want my customers/ clients to LOVE my brand “??
I am willing to put money down that you didn’t. And why would you?
In the words of Tina Turner: “What’s love got to do with it”?
Your company is focused on sales, leads, and other KPIs… Love is something we perceive as intimate, reserved for our families and close friends. But keep this in mind – when love is not a company goal, there is little chance to achieve it. And we all need to be loved. Even brands.
In fact, the most loved brands tend to last longer, are more resilient, and generate loyalty and sales.
After incorporating this approach in brands like BuyMe, and AWE, we would like to share our approach to brands that people love.

Love yourself (but not in the way you might think) first

Before you think this is just another Zen B.S., breath and read – this part is vital. You have to be in love with your organization’s purpose. We found that it just won’t work otherwise. There is a big difference between making money and “making people happy” (The Disney purpose). If your brand’s core purpose is something you are passionate about, that is a great start to getting others motivated as well.

The real McCoy: Define your perfect client/customer

Would you marry anyone? Would you share your most treasured moments with anyone? (The answer should be no , BTW) Not everyone is right for you, and if you try to get everybody – no one feels special. Start with defining your ideal customer – the one who, when they connect with your brand, will feel that this is a brand made for them – a perfect fit like fish and chips, C3po and R2D2, or Mondays and hangovers.
Understand who you are looking for.

“You had me at Hello”: Make an outstanding first impression.

Make a point of mapping your customer’s journey, with a special emphasis on the first touchpoint. Stand out, be bold, be crazy (not the kind of crazy that gets a restraining order, though), different is not just better than better it’s a heck of a first impression.

“No, you’re shmoopy!”: The honeymoon

Once your relationship is established, and it seems like everything is hunky-dory. This is the part that will create long-lasting memories, create brand advocates, and reach more like-minded audiences. This is your brand’s time to shine and deliver on your brand promise.

Spice things up

As time passes, remember their birthdays, surprise them every once in a while. Suggest new services, come up with new solutions. And never, ever ask them too many questions about their hot best friend. That’s right, keep inventing and innovating.

Be the bigger person in breakups

One day they may want to leave., And breakups are hard!
But if you want them to come back, don’t beg, don’t be a douche. Be the Ex they will always cherish. Be cool and generous (you don’t really need those CDs they left in the back of your pickup, right?). Be Brad Pitt in “Legends of the fall.” or something like that.. Be the one they want to comfort them when they’re down. Keep your distance but welcome them back when they return.

In conclusion, we are told as children that love conquers all. It’s not true but love is a force to be reckoned with. Consider harnessing its power to report more than sales stats in your next quarterly review.

How much B.S. can advertisers force-feed us in a single commercial break?
Have you ever watched a commercial and asked yourself what the hell is going on there? Why are these people dancing in ecstatic bliss around this laundry detergent? Why are we overusing inspirational phrases like “a technological breakthrough,” “challenging the basics,” and so on to describe a car – well, you are not alone.
It seems that the term “truth in advertising” is only something ad agencies use to lie – about themselves.

Let’s look at one of the latest pile of nonsense the advertising world has manufactured lately. Obviously, I am referring to the “what the f” commercial of the year, the “Zendaya for Lancome Idole Fragrance Campaign.” It begins with an image of Zendaya, the once child model/backup-singer and Disney channel star, mounted on a saddleless white horse wearing only a tiny sexy spring dress. The horse (who I presume was a unicorn in the original script) seems as confused as I am. Is this a Lady Godiva reference? Female empowerment thing? Hemorrhoids lotion ad? As she starts riding to town, the camera provides us a close up of her face; she seems confident, happy, and complete. The mystery is solved – female empowerment! Unstoppable by Sia is playing! You go, girl!

No one seems to notice this confident young woman looking for something elusive as she gallops around town. Is it a Starbucks? Bed Bath and Beyond? Drug dealer, maybe? – that would be a nice twist… She discovers her destiny in the form of some stairs. (Wait, what?) She charges confidently up the stairs, only to appear on a different street – similar to the ones we have seen before, never mind, maybe it’s a metaphor? – she charges ahead, this time with even greater confidence – right out of town. Déjà vu? Didn’t we shoot the first scene here? Now she is up a hill (Where did that come from?) – never mind again! she needs to keep going! The direction, or any other storytelling aspect, is irrelevant at this point! Now she gazes at the city (again) and with a spectacular confident, but still, feminine movement (because girls can be tough and graceful at the same time). She raises a bottle of perfume. It sparkles as the sun gracefully caresses it! – Catharsis at last!

No wait, there is more! she is replied by sparkles of other women – presumably on white stallions as well, waving their perfumes right back at her – WE ARE UNITED! Now we hear the slogan for this “I can – We will” (wasn’t that Obama’s?) All women needed is for this famous chick to ride around town on her unicorn, sorry – white stallion, to liberate and empower women.

At this point, the viewers are recovering from a series of convocation spasms and are just happy that this torment is done with, trying desperately to focus back on their TV dinner.

Now look, I get it. You need to glorify a product, and that’s fine. But please explain how buying a perfume is empowering women? This mish-mash of cliches and pointless storytelling is bad enough, but to add insult to injury, what kind of message are you sending to women anyway? How are we guys supposed to look at this movement now? The deeper you dig into this, you realize that this is just another brand trying to capitalize on the female empowerment movement without any real substance. Sorry, Lancome – you’re busted! And I know I’m a guy writing this, but my 12-year-old daughter was as baffled and offended as I am.

I am guessing sales were looking up for Lancome and that they consider this to be a success. Its true advertising is effective. Even using that 30-second slot on TV just displaying the logo on a black background would boost sales. Ask yourself, could there have been a more effective commercial? I, for one, think so.

Lies travel faster and further than the truth. But the truth runs deeper. That’s why I left the advertising world and focused on Branding. Unlike Advertising, Branding is about taking something true and making it interesting. With an emphasis on the TRUE part. Brands who are loyal to their truth make a difference while making a buck. Lot’s of bucks, actually. So, advertisers, I ask you, why lie to us? We’re gonna’ find out. Lies will help you win the battle. The truth will help you win the war. Win the war!

BTW look how Ryan Renolds roasts commercial cliches:


To me, Apple will always sound like the Mac startup chime, as it should. After being a part of our lives for almost 30 years, the recognizable chime has become synonymous with the brand. Many other brands have a sound that is uniquely theirs, like McDonald’s “I’m loving it” jingle, or Optica Halperin’s breaking glass sound. Owning a unique sound is sometimes what separates a good brand from a great one.

Going digital means some brands have been losing their voices, or even worse — not having a voice at all. Ask yourself, what does Dropbox sound like? What does eBay or Cisco sound like? The internet is mostly and respectfully mute (unless you press a play button), and since most of our digital brand-experience is online, experiencing a brand means using our eyes, not our ears.

According to researchers at the University of Iowa, when it comes to memory, we don’t remember things we hear nearly as well as things we see or touch. This may explain why the majority of brand managers focus on textual marketing messages. If you want people to remember a message, audio delivery won’t be your first weapon of choice. However, brands are about evoking emotion, and sound is a powerful took that has been widely overlooked.

Sound is powerful. Pixar is an excellent example of audio potency. Their approach to music and the soundtrack shows how advances in sound design can create impact. Pixar differentiated itself from Disney’s classic animated films, replacing the musical numbers and dance sequences with montages and flashbacks, scored with either original music or preexisting songs. Pixar pays unusually nuanced attention to the soundtrack, resulting in some of the most moving animated films and box office successes.

Emerging new media and devices with built-in audio delivery, such as social media platforms, podcasts, streaming media, or smartphones, expand both audio branding opportunities and audio brand impact. This enables brand managers to engage with their audience at a deeper, more emotional level.

As a branding agency, our goal has always been to answer the big question: “what is your story?” Now it seems that we should be asking ourselves, “What is your story, and what does it sound like?”’

Watch this analysis on how Pixar uses music to make you cry:

It’s almost impossible to ignore the fact that we are living in the golden age of assholes. From political leaders, influencers, and brands, being a douchebag has its perks.

Some brands can get away with murder, while others need to apologize for every hiccup. Some get a slap on the wrist Aunt Jemima,” which is downright racist and was justly put down by Quaker Oats after 130 years of pitching the brand, quickly followed by “Mar’s” “Uncle Ben.”

I am talking about brands that draw a line and say, “we don’t care” to the overly woke, offended culture that has taken the joy out of everything in its path. Brands like “Virgin,” “Diesel,” “Harley Davidson,” “Uber,” “Pornhub”… These are all brands that frankly, my dear – don’t give a damn but have done incredibly well.

But where do you draw the line? Why is Pornhub’s “Bee Sexual” campaign acceptable, and the Washington Redskins’ team name not? (the team dropped their brand name entirely due to native American protest) Where do we draw the line? What about the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves (with tomahawk), St. Louis Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish, New Zealand’s All Blacks… ? What is offensive? What is radical and cool?

It seems that brands that try to conform to political correctness can never win, while those that go their own way seem to triumph. Perhaps, standing for something also means standing out. Maybe some people will frown, but others will love you for it. For one, I would rather manage a brand that generates emotions like love or hate than work with a bland one.

An “in-your-face” brand? A hero? Whatever your brand character is, being bad is pretty good business. We live in an age when being an asshole is a virtue. What a time to be alive!

If you like Piña coladas, or if your name is Luka, or if you are on a dark desert highway and have ever wondered why some songs are more memorable than others, this post might help you understand how some of these songs have survived over time, and how they are used to manipulate us.

Catchy tunes are sweet and trendy. But when it comes to songs you can sing by heart, a clear line can be drawn between a generic “I love you” tune and a song that has a story to tell.

Ask yourself, how well do you remember the lyrics of “Hotel California” or “Bohemian Rhapsody?” Most of us would answer “pretty well,” and not just because these were massive hits. Over the years, many songs have been huge hits, but only a few really resonate over time. Some songs made enough sense and had enough of a specific pattern that just made them stick in our brains. Don’t believe me? Well, let see if you can complete these:

“Her name was Lola she was a…”
“Ground Control to Major…”
“Cause for twenty-four years I’ve been living next door to…”

Our brains weren’t designed to remember facts and figures, but, rather, visual impressions, environments, and stories.

Stories work better when told consecutively. They also work better when combined with other elements, like an image or a tune, which helps our brains to absorb them better. Memory trainers teach you to transform large amounts of information into a coherent story to help you remember them. Adding rhymes or even a tune an help create an even stronger impression. Advertisers call that type of message “a giggle.” And it is so effective that it’s hard to imagine saying the McDonald’s slogan “I’m loving it” without singing it.

Understanding this relationship, advertisers have evolved from creating jingles to manipulating already popular songs to make them more effective. They now use songs you already like and that are already embedded in your subconscious mind to sell products. The formula is simple. Take a product, any product (a router, a yogurt, a hotel, anything really). Then take a well-known song, preferably one with a story, then mix your message in it. And… Alakazam! — you’ve got an effective commercial.

Go ahead, turn on your TV set, and count how many well-known songs are in an average commercial break. It’s impossible to escape from this new cocktail that advertisers are serving us. We know it’s potent, but it has come to the point that amounts to downright lazy advertising. No story, no message; just being force-fed with a product and a tune.

Yes. Using well-known songs in advertising is here to stay. But this use has become so overused that we have forgotten that its whole purpose was to help tell a story, and now, many times, it does everything but that.