I think you get the point. Screw having 15 minutes of fame.
Right now you get about 15 seconds, and then the all-important
public moves on. Agencies shouldn't promise to make brands famous.
After all, should fame still be the goal, when, in today's world,
fame can be so short-lived? It's a fair question. How can you make
sure that your brand love endures? That's the BIG question.
And here's my answer: brand generosity. In other words,
successful brands must provide real, meaningful value to potential
customers if they want to build lasting loyalty and affinity for
Brand generosity has a few important principles. First of all,
the product needs to provide value. Then, marketers have to offer
something that their potential customers actually want --something
more than a cheap T-shirt or water bottle with your logo on it. It
can be an experience, or a service or a digital keepsake, but it
has to create a lasting, memorable emotional connection.
Second, you can't bribe your way into brand generosity. Offering
straight financial incentives, or "$5 off" coupons, won't build
lasting loyalty. Underscoring that point is the recent report that
brands that build Facebook followings using sweepstakes wind up
with much lower levels of lasting fan engagement.
Look at some of the world's most-progressive marketers, and
you'll find great examples of meaningful brand generosity. Book a
first-class ticket with Virgin Atlantic and the airline will
provide you a chauffer-driven car service to pick you up at the
airport. It's a wonderful gesture that screams luxury. Lego built
an entire social network, ReBrick, and then turned over the keys
over to hardcore fans, who now have a brand-new playground to show
off their creations. It's a powerful way for Lego to celebrate
their brand's inherent creativity. Zappos built their entire brand
on generous customer service and free returns. These are the kinds
of ideas we could be providing our clients.
It's that sort of thinking that inspired us to infuse some brand
generosity into a project for our client Asics, which sponsors the
New York City Marathon. We knew marathoners desperately needed
motivation and support during the race. So we built a system that
collected inspirational messages from the marathoners' own family
and friends, then delivered the messages to marathon runners,
during the race, on-course. Imagine running the hardest race of
your life, looking up, and seeing your kids cheering you on. The
program has been an enormous hit, to say the least.
Admittedly, I'm no basketball expert. Jeremy Lin may go on to
have a long and successful career, especially for a Harvard guy.
And there's no doubt he has an incredible story. But the reality is
, even if he continues to perform well on the court, there will
always be the next sensation waiting in the wings and ready to
steal the stage.
The key for marketers is to make sure that through strategic
brand generosity, we can stop the Lin-sanity and create lasting
loyalty for our brands.