Many brands make the mistake of trying to be popular. They set out to appeal to everyone, but please no one.
Branding is not a popularity contest, but about finding people who will fall in love with your brand. Yes, there is a difference.
Being popular may put you on the map, but do people actually like you? For instance, Microsoft is a hugely popular brand but I am certain it’s the most cursed brand in the world as well – thanks to stupid-friggin-Windows!
What if a brand yearns to be unpopular? It means the brand takes a unique stand, which most people may hate, but can cultivate a devoted following from whoever’s left. Take UMobile for instance – probably the most unpopular of all the telcos – but they have 2 million registered customers.
Look at it this way, even the most popular brand in the world cannot claim their popularity extends to everyone. Like Astro apparently is Malaysia’s Brand of the Year, which would indicate a high degree of popularity. Obviously they didn’t ask for my opinion.
In a world where little niches appear every single day, there is no way a brand can appeal to everyone, making mass advertising strategies severely flawed.
There’s a saying in showbiz that aptly summarizes taking an unpopular stance:
“When 50% of the people loves you,
and the other 50% hates you; you know you’ve arrived “
So it’s okay to be an unpopular brand, because there will still be a bunch of people who think you are absolutely awesome.
And before you think I’m some kind of branding genius, read Erika Napoletano’s The Power of Un-Popular for more insights. But I can still whip up decent brand strategies you know?
I have been having many late nights over the last few weeks. Thanks to a dear friend that makes his appearance from abroad every year or so.
And this friend of mine wields a strange form of magic. Whenever he is around, he is able to round up the troops. I mean he is the only person who can gather all the friends and acquaintances that I don’t normally hang out with these days.
He is the head of the clan of sorts; the guy that everyone wants to chill with – I call him ‘the chief’.
Needless to say, we all have a great time whenever the chief is around. To an outsider, it may seem like we all hang out together all the time.
But as soon as he flies back, I probably would not meet any of the clan members – except for a couple perhaps – until the next time the chief returns.
The camaraderie that we rediscovered will suddenly vanish.
You know what this proves? It seems we humans need something or someone we can all relate with – in this case a true friend – before we devote our Attention, Time and Effort.
And in advertising and marketing communications; we try to get people to devote their:
Attention to notice our product
Time for us to build relationships, and
Effort to actually buy our product
So maybe brands should endeavor to behave more like good friends to consumers rather than faceless, profit-driven entities.
Think about your favourite brand; is it reliable, offers comfort and makes you feel good? That brand is in fact your friend.
And to the chief, I bid you farewell and wish you the best till the next time. Now I need to repay some sleep debt…. Cheers!
If you can’t serve your customers, bash them up. A method practiced by a certain KFC employee; allegedly of course.
But you can’t refute the video evidence. Even if he was provoked, this is still no reason for an employee of a global fast food chain to get all Bruce Lee with anyone; let alone a customer.
But strangely, I wasn’t all too surprised.
That’s because I’ve been noticing the lowering standards of customer service in Malaysia for many years now. I’ve also written about my own experiences and the possible reasons behind such dismal customer service.
The KFC tagline these days is “So Good”. I guess they are not only referring to the chicken (again, allegedly), but also to the whacking that one would get from disgruntled employees.
But that’s the problem isn’t it. The brand spends millions to say something and the employees – who are probably working long, unforgiving hours for pittance – say another. There is hardly any synergy between what you see and what you get from Malaysian businesses these days.
And the worst part, no one is bothered.
Like the many customer service mishaps of the past, this video will be forgotten and conveniently dismissed as a one-time-only incident beyond the company’s control.
But I would really like to see is Ronald McDonald kick someone’s ass though… that would be awesomely funny!