30/10/15

Living the brand… no matter how cool

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Can you love a brand too much to promote it? Kelly Runza at Sense explains why it can be an issue and how to overcome it.

Having previously worked for one of the coolest brands on the planet, energy drink giants Red Bull, I know the appeal to represent a brand that I, one, relate to and, two, excites me!

As a member of an experiential marketing team on the ground, there’s really nothing like being the real world face of a cool brand you love. You instantly get it, can quickly immerse yourself in its values and can engage with consumers with authentic unbridled enthusiasm, exuding passion and zest like all the best brand ambassadors do.

And it’s true that when selecting a team for a live brand campaign, enthusiasm and prior knowledge can be an advantage. However, they can also be a drawback.

How? Because it can mean that those who worship the brand they are promoting have preconceived ideas about it that don’t actually fit with the image that it wants to project to a particular market. Furthermore, over-enthusiasm in face-to-face situations can be just as much of a problem as under-enthusiasm, making brand ambassadors too gushing and over the top. At best this can come across as a lack of sincerity; at worst it can actually unsettle or scare consumers.

This is why it’s essential that even those who have a prior thorough knowledge of a brand must go through the same rigorous training as those who don’t before presenting it through a live brand experience.

This includes not simply learning the logistics, presentation and the strategy behind it, but also about the key values and information that the brand wishes to convey, along with the appropriate way to engage with the target audience. For those who already know the brand well, this can involve a certain amount of ‘unlearning’, to make sure that any inappropriate preconceptions are not projected during the activity.

This helps to create a consistency across the entire team and also builds bonding, which is a key part of brand ambassador training.

This doesn’t take anything away from the thrill of representing one of your favourite brands. If anything it makes it more enjoyable, because you know you’re presenting it in the right way and truly helping to make it more successful. Plus you know far more about it than you did before.

And although working for cool brands is great, you’ll only really ever properly hone your brand ambassador skills by promoting those that aren’t so cool and that you know little about. The real test of the best promotional staff is being as good at representing unfamiliar brands as you are at presenting your favourites.

30/10/15

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