Oh nay nay – branding is something your CUSTOMERS DO TO your business.
You may be able to exercise some control as you “guide” their hand as they wield the blazing hot iron rod and take aim – but your control of the entire “branding” process is limited because branding takes place entirely inside the mind of consumers.
The Twilight movie saga is an exceptional example of how “branding” can go totally awry.
When you saw “Twilight” reference above – did you wonder if I were “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob”? That my friends is an example of how consumers helped to craft a “brand” for the movie franchise – one that has attached itself to the movie franchise and inspired everything from t-shirts to SNL skits. However, there’s another side to this “branding love story” – a story of branding gone horribly awry.
When it comes to what “team” I’m on – I’m on a third hereto undefined team – I’m on “Team Rifftrax”. If it weren’t for Rifftrax I would have never been able to sit through this insipid movie – let alone enjoy it as thoroughly.
Thanks to the ruthless and brutal commentary provided by Mike, Bill and Kevin, I am truly a fan of RiffTrax and by extension – the Twilight saga.
The RiffTrax brand is strong – very strong. Jedi mind power strong – oh don’t get me started – they’ve riffed the Star Wars saga as well. “We don’t make movies – we make them funny” is their branding statement and they follow through on that promise with surprising regularity.
Which is where the whole “you’re not in control of your own branding” thing comes into play.
Yesterday I got an email from Rifftrax introducing their Kickstarter campaign to do a live Riff of the original movie in theaters this summer. (Note: Rifftrax emails always get my attention because they are used to share important information like this and not spammy shit like so many email campaigns do these days.)
I logged on to Kickstarter 22 hours after that email was sent and saw that $136,000 had already been pledged to the project, which is well in excess of the $55,000 original funding goal.
On one hand – this is the story of a strong brand – RiffTrax – asking their “brand advocates” for support – and the enthusiastic response. How did this happen? Through five years of delivering on their branding statement – regular customer contact – and quite honestly – respect for their audience and customers.
On the other hand (the Twilight end) – this is a story about “branding” gone horribly awry. Sure – millions of “fans” adored the movie when it was released- but the movie quickly found its way into the discount DVD bin at various superstores.
Meanwhile there are obviously a much greater number of un-fans who dwell on the dark side behind our leaders (Mike, Bill and Kevin). The difference between the two is the Team RiffTrax crowd are brand enthusiasts – while the “Team Twilight” fans are a fickle bunch.
Building a brand takes years – not days – and is a never ending process for your business. For an example of a movie studio that has taken building their brand seriously, read about Pixar’s brand building activities in the days BEFORE they were a Disney property.
The best way to build and control your branding message is to stay “on target” and deliver exceptional quality – unless you’re a movie studio and want your movie franchise to become the next target of team RiffTrax.