I am sometimes amazed at the difference between what some marketers “think” is the problem (frequently based on hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of research and god knows how many meetings) and what the REAL problem is.
Pretty much anyone can tell you what the real problem is. It’s usually blindingly obvious to anyone who isn’t privy to all this research and hasn’t gone to those meetings.
Here’s a few brand problems off the top of my head.
1. HARLEY-DAVIDSON: your customers are all white grey-haired fat asses. But perhaps this is the natural place for Harley to inhabit. An affordable mid-life crisis on wheels. Maybe you should go with that?
2. GUINNESS: beer is yellow or brown and you are black. And you look really heavy to drink. But you’re cool and Irish! Therefore I will happily sing your praises as I sip my Heineken on St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness’s (not a typo, an in-joke) biggest problem is stimulating trial. And it is an acquired taste. Lager is not.
3. AT&T: you are full of shit. You are a cheating weasel. You’re lousy at what you do. You are the weak link in the iPhone experience,
See, it’s easy. Because it’s TRUE. We all know it’s true.
Smart, ambitious people have the courage to live in the real world and address the problems of the real world. And so they actually have an effect on the real world. That’s how the recent Old Spice work happened. Someone said “Old Spice is old. Let’s make it current”, not “We’re looking to increase share of voice in our key demographic by 25%”.
You know all those ads on TV that seem to exist in their own little world? Well they do. They got their start in an insulated brand cocoon crowded with planners and researchers who owe their very existence to the assumption that the truth is some kind of elusive mystery. It isn’t. It’s staring us all in the face. Always.