Thursday, April 22, 2010

6 habits of effective branding with a nod to jamie oliver

'Good evening, i'm from Essex, in case you couldn't tell.
My given name is Dickie, I come from Billericay and I'm doing very well'

Jamie Oliver's opening line from his TED Prize acceptance talk - 'I'm Jamie from Essex, I'm a chef' - echoing Essex's other favourite son, Ian Dury (un-selfconciously or not) but the embodiement of the base of contemporary successful branding.

In Chris Rojek's book on Cultural Studies he describes capitalism as having shifted into a new stage of 'cultural development in which branding, advertising and marketing link consumption with popular empowerment'.

We are witnessing this every day now, powered by the emergence of social technologies. There's plenty said about that elsewhere, so i'll leave that alone for a bit.

What I did find useful is what Rojek describes as the six key features of what he calls 'neat capitalism'. Comparing the approach of successful contemporary branding vs traditional capitalist 'corporations', of which the rise of Jamie's star (and others) is a case in point.

1. Informality
'I'm Jamie from Essex, I'm a chef'.
Jamie doesn't wear a suit, doesn't even describe himself as a 'business' person.
In fact he clearly distances himself from that world, in the same manner as Branson, Jobs st al before him.
For another example, just look at the current election lead-up and David Cameron, with his metaphorical and literal sleeves-rolled-up and Nick Clegg with the relaxed demeanour and open-neck shirt. Compared to that Gordon Brown's looking decidedly old-school.

2. Social Conscience
Conventional, traditional business and corporations are widely acknowledged as being at the root of many of the abuses of human rights, exploitation of labour and environmental damage amongst other things.
New branding challenges this and actively seeks to 'make a difference'.
Jamie's crusade to save lives through healthy diet is ,in effect, his 'enterprise'. The Food Revolution.
When Guy Kawasaki talks about 'make meaning first, the money will follow', this is what he is describing.

3. Innovation
We mentioned Branson earlier. Virgin being the poster child of innovation.
Their approach being to look for sectors dominated by jaded, inflexible 'business cultures' and wading in in with game changing approaches. Air Travel, Mobile, TV have all been shaken up by Virgin's disruptive methods.
Jamie, similarly, being almost transmedia personified. No touchpoint being left 'untouched'.

4. Listening to (and partnership with) consumers.
Transparency, value, service are the cornerstones. The biggest mistake traditional business is making is paying far too much attention to it's own processes and needs ergo failing to connect with their customers.
We've talked about the new customer buying journey and passive/active loyalty in this space before. Being present when consumers are 'reaching out' for information and responding.

5. Being Flexible.
Again, listening to the market and looking for branding opportunities.
If Jamie ridgedly stuck in 'product' mode he'd still be in the kitchen in his dad's pub. In 'brand' mode he is not confined by narrow product category definitions and, like Branson, can happily apply the brand to any sphere. Restaurants, books, accessories, TV, even wine.

6. Entertaining (or Fun)
Doing good, making a difference (and making money) can be an enjoyable thing to do.
Albeit within a 'market' context (so let's not kid ourselves that it's somehow 'revolutionary'). But never mind the business logic, a smile (as in a yawn) is infectious. Po-faced is not a good look.

Note: As a mere advertising douchebag, this is my simplistic interpretation, if you are after the concise socio-poitical lowdown, I suggest reading Rojek's book ;)

See what I did there? Informality.

blog comments powered by Disqus