Has your passion for your brand become a distraction?

Passion for your brand is important, says Rob Morrison, but some marketers could do with a healthy dose of reality.

In the early noughties I was lucky enough to work in Melbourne for a short time.

Without being geography-istic (is that even a word?), our Southern capital was just a little ‘more’ than anywhere else I’ve worked. More outgoing with their social calendar. More experimental with their menus. And more passionate about pretty much everything.

But there’s a time when that passion equals naivety. I’ll give you an example.

One of my clients was one of Melbourne’s best known AFL clubs. We’d just done a hugely successful recruitment campaign and I was presenting that work as an example to one of the big four banks. The marketers at the bank were determined to compare the response rates for their latest campaign with the numbers we’d generated for the club.

It was then I used a caveat I wish I could take back. I said something like, ‘But people are always going to be more passionate about their footy club than they are about their bank.’

The client looked at me incredulously: ‘Why?’

Pause. Tumbleweed filled the room.

They continued: ‘We want them to be as passionate about our home loan/credit card/everyday account as they are about their football team.’

At this point I should have backed off. But I was young and dumb.

I responded honestly. ‘Footy is something passed down through generations. That people read about and watch by choice. That they are emotionally invested in. They get tattoos of the logo. Every now and then it’s the cause of great joy. And then great sadness. It’s like comparing commerce and religion.’

More open-mouthed stares.

What I failed to recognise is that this marketer did feel as much passion for the brand as for their footy club. They lived it. They breathed it.

Let me make this uber-clear: that’s not a bad thing. Passion is never bad. It just needs to be channelled correctly.

That passion directed at product development is brilliant. That passion used to protect a killer offer through legal approvals? Awesome. That same passion used to negotiate new channels where your customers can find, try and buy? Brilliant.

But we also need a dose of reality.

We simply can’t allow ourselves to over-rate our brand and our product’s role in people’s lives. Sometimes we really are just selling a product – not a solution.

Sometimes it is just a ticket – not an experience. And sometimes, we just have to accept people will use us, throw us away, and not think of us again until the next they need a replacement.

In truth, the market decides its level of passion for us.

Lucky for you if you work at a footy club. Unlucky for the rest of us.

 

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Image copyright: msmay / 123RF Stock Photo

Rob Morrison
BY Rob Morrison ON 23 November 2016
Rob Morrison is creative director of OgilvyOne.