Friday, 14 September 2012

2013… the year to up brand confidence?

Six or seven years ago McDonalds UK seemed a bit embarrassed about itself. Under huge pressure as the poster child for obese Britain, it invested little in its restaurants and was seeing quarter after quarter of declining results. The initial response was to introduce fruits and salads and oranges juices. Then someone with sense said “whoa, whoa, whoa…”. 
Rather than be embarrassed, they needed pride. They realised they had an amazing estate, gave chances to tens of thousands of young people and made burgers and fries which millions of people liked and made a big contribution to the economy and wider society.

They introduced all sorts of comms around this re-found confidence… in the opportunities they create for employment, in their food and its provenance, in their restaurant estate and its future. 2012 is likely to be its best year on a long-term upward curve.

For Brand GB, we had perhaps the worst ever case of Pre-Olympic Tension. We were crap “at this sort of thing”, our athletes will crumble, the roads will be jammed, there’ll be queues everywhere, the security won’t stop what-it-needs-to… we’ll fail not just in front of ourselves but in front of the entire watching world. Self-Hate Britain writ-large.

But then, Liz jumped out of a helicopter, Mr Bean made a fart gag, the transport worked, helpful squaddies and gamesmakers charmed and British athletes of all shapes, sizes, colours and classes out-performed expectation at every turn. Confidence grew and before we knew it, we were slapping ourselves on the back, basking in the glow of a job brilliantly, creatively, effectively, humorously and successfully done.

Just as psychologists will tell us we’re more attracted to confident people, so, it seems reasonable to assume, are we more attracted to confident brands.  Brands which share opinions, get involved, make themselves relevant, are transparent, can laugh, are generous, involving, trusting and honest… these are the brands we want.

Waitrose/John Lewis, Innocent, Marmite, McDonalds, P&G, Paddy Power, IKEA, the Guardian, Mumsnet, Red Bull, … if you’re wondering what to brief your agency on for 2013, you could do a lot worse than asking them how to boost your brand’s confidence.

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