On the first day of the 58th International Festival of Creativity, brand expert and author Martin Lindstrom and executive chairman of goviral Jimmy Maymann, addressed a packed Debussy auditorium, during the Palais de Festival. The topic of discussion was 'The Long Idea', that is, tools that brands can adopt in order to increase the longevity of their brand story.
Are brand symbols and religious symbols perceived similarly?
Lindstrom drew an intriguing parallel between brands and religion. Come to think of it, both rely on elaborate story-telling and both lean on detailed symbols and imagery that carry the brand's (or religion's) story forward for years on end.
"Brands with great story-telling", Lindstrom shared, "are typically associated with grandeur, vision, a clear enemy and a certain degree of mystery." When consumers make these associations, the brand's story tends to outlast that of its competitors. Little wonder then, that brands like Apple have such strong brand stories that aid long-term branding. Users, at an unconscious level, associate the brand and all its products with grandeur and mystery. "Such brands are called 'Smashables'. They have 'smashing' brand stories," Lindstrom said.
Offline to Online
Taking forward this discussion on the online medium, Maymann used football as a metaphor to explain how brands can up the longevity of their story on the multiple media platforms that are accessible in today's times. "Sports brands Adidas and Nike have capitalised on the online space and have cashed in on their association with football to extend their respective stories," he said. He added that today it is not sufficient to just have a "brand destination" and that a brand needs to also have, what he calls, a "brand distribution" plan that can help etch its story-telling in users' minds. This is because since 2006, until last year, consumer involvement with brands online, has shot up. "It has become a 'world of demand'," exclaimed Maymann. "Consumer empowerment has increased of late," he said.
He concluded by sharing the story of how Nike successfully built engagement online and added years to its brand story during a time when Adidas had more market share.