Local brands need to have the presence of mind to know when to ride a trend and when to ignore it.
Every year in February the season of love begins. In fact, it may be said that the season of love reaches a climax. For some there will be success, for others heartbreak but that is part of the game called the Super Bowl. If there is anything American men love more than their cars, it’s NFL and the Super Bowl, (spouses/girlfriends come in third on the list, maybe).
American brands too love this mega event and try to leverage it in order to be a winner no matter what the final score is.
However it may surprise you to know that there are brands such as Met Life that do not get caught up in the Super Bowl - or the other February feature, the Oscar’s frenzy. These brands rather than try to milk the hype, forego it to focus on what is more important and relevant to their target market. Although they acknowledge that the Super Bowl and the Oscars (and other such events) are very powerful, in their view, the effort and cost to stand out is counterproductive
Pakistani brands too should be able to discern when to ride the bandwagon and when not to. They also need to know how to leverage trends in a smart way.
Recently I have been struck by the idiotic levels to which Pakistani brands are stooping to, to be a viral hit. Be it lesser known names or established brands, almost everyone seems to be vying for the fleeting attention and achievement that results from becoming a shared phenomenon on social media. Yet, brands need to focus on what generates lasting growth and equity and not on what might generate laughs for a day or a week. Perhaps brands and agencies feel that the sharing increases their reach and helps them. Maybe it does, but for how long?
Do you remember that pizza brand that created cartoon posts of various political leaders eating pizza? Do you remember the brand’s name? I honestly don’t and I would bet that most people don’t either – and the reason for this is because there was no brand essence in those posts. They were topical yes and popular sure, but they did not lead to brand building. It seems ironical that in an age when marketers complain of clutter and short attention spans, they are in fact doing their level best to contribute to the clutter.
This phenomenon of brands becoming uber excited in counterproductive. Instead they should keep calm and be like Espresso.
Why Espresso? What can a brand that literally means fast or in haste teach others about patience and how to stand out in social media? In actuality they have a lot worth learning from.
First of all, Espresso’s posts on a trend or topic are meant to start a conversation; that is always their focus. Secondly, although the idea behind a particular post might be a spark of inspiration, the resulting work is always of the best quality and stands out. As a result, they have won likes, comments and shares and stayed true to their brand essence with posts on controversial topics such as the Kasur child abuse case or the anniversary of the APS attack:
Their old post on the rainy season in Karachi is was one of the best by a brand to leverage a ‘seasonal’ event.
Do brands have what it takes to be like Espresso? Yes, some do, such as Patar;, others will have to discover what they stand for or what differentiates them. As a Patari fan, I love reading their weekly newsletter or haftanama. They are always well crafted and have the brand identity embodied in them.
Recently Patari made waves with the rap video featuring singers from Lyari. This part of the Tabeer initiative has created very good vibes for the brand and helped bring people closer together.
I love Patari, I love the way they think and their attention to detail; however I was disappointed when they created this Facebook post:
Yes it is getting shares, but it is not in tune with the essence of what Patari is. The Lyari video and haftanama are; the above Facebook post isn’t.
The formula for success is simple. Focus on what makes the brand stand out and avoid creating more clutter while trying to innovatively break it. Like those US brands that choose to not advertise during the Super Bowl, local brands need to have the presence of mind to know when to ride a trend and when to ignore it. A hard decision with the PSL around the corner.