The holidays were a great time to relax, unwind and watch some TV (since it was zero degrees outside). I really don’t ever do that but because of the conditions, I did spend time on the couch. One thing that struck me was the number of well-branded TV commercials that ran during this time period. Some branding strategies were clearly targeted to me. Others not so much, but the bottom line is there were some good ones (meaning effective in communicating a brand image).
What is Branding Strategy
By definition, a branding strategy is a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve specific goals. A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments. One important element of a comprehensive branding strategy targeted to consumers is television advertising. Although it may not be right for every business, TV is the most powerful media available to advertisers and it has the potential to dramatically impact a communications campaign’s success.
Branding Strategies and the Power of TV
One TV spot that really stands out to me is the Honda Trophy ad for their new Accord. My perception is that Honda is positioning its new model as the champion of all others in its class (or any class for that matter). The commercial is sports and kid oriented, with brass trophy-tops becoming animated as it shows progress building up to the tallest of the tall trophies, where an active guy climbs on top with the Accord, only to be followed by a child’s voice spelling out H-O-N-D-A. Well done Honda. A complex spot with a very simple close. Very effective.
Another good one came from Wal-Mart, who invested advertising dollars thanking its thousands of employees for a job well done over the Christmas selling season. The down-to-earth commercial came across more as a short documentary, showcasing different associates performing different types of jobs, from the greeter, to the shelf stocker to the person who checks you out. It also showed the trucker that delivers product to the store and the people who unload it and check it in. If you’re a Wal-Mart employee, this commercial had to make you feel good about your employer and proud of what they have done. Having grown up in the retail business, I know how hard of a business it is, especially through the Christmas season. A thank you call-out to employees can go a long way towards employee motivation and morale. Thank you to Wal-Mart for doing that, as that translates into happier employees and happier customers. It definitely makes me feel a little warmer about the retail giant.
A third TV commercial that stands out top of mind is from Apple. First of all, it’s in black and white and it’s snowing, and they produce it beautifully. It starts with an attractive woman and a handsome man walking separately down the city street with earbuds in, listening to their I-Phones. They accidentally bump into each other and it evolves into a moment of choreographed dance and dramatic cinematography. The implication here is that the new model has features that create spectacular imagery; exactly one of the positioning strategies I would think. As the dance ends, the couple gazes at each other, then walks away. They’ve experienced a “moment in time”, thanks to Apple. This ad certainly makes you feel good while entertaining you at the same time. It’s just one of the reasons why Apple stores are always busy when you go in.
At this point, let me apologize if any of the details of these commercials are fuzzy. There’s been a little water under the bridge and New Years celebrations since I last saw them. But they have remained top of mind and what else should you ask for from an ad, other than running out and buying the product as fast as you can. Effective branding strategies put the foundational blocks of marketing positioning in place for marketers to build on. These brands executed it well. What other new spots have you seen that stand out to you?