Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unbranded Branding

What would happen if we would say that the future of branding is about trying to make the brand less visible? Or what about if we say that advertising in order to be more relevant would have to make contents more important than the brand itself?

Perhaps what impacted me more from the movie The Social Network is that idea that advertising would had "ruin the party". It seems to be the key piece of advice that Sean Parker (Napster founder) gave to Zuckerberg that reinforces the vision that he already had and that appears as the key decision that consolidated the success of Facebook over MySpace, for example.

For all of us who work in branding, it feels too hard to hear that the presence of advertising is like ending a party at 11 pm. Even more, realize that the absence of advertising was the main reason why Facebook worked. If we understand that Facebook is the biggest communication and social phenomenon in the last few decades it is even harder to hear that. But it makes lot of sense. We have seen that the best branding cases have been those that does not have advertising in the obvious way. We all know now that no any consumer would send or participate in a content in which the brand is larger than the idea.

I think we will se more and more cases in which the brand capitalizes a social phenomenon. It means, those brand building processes in which the consumer help us to make the message larger and more relevant. And we know that it is true only in two cases. The first one is when the consumer has a huge connection with the brand to a point that he considers that the brand is not a foreign but a friend with a purpose he wants to back. The second case is when the content is attractive by itself and gains the preference of consumers to be transmitted to his own community of friends and family.

It was exactly when I was thinking on this idea of "unbranded branding" and I was wondering how the brands can make advertising without hundred of logos and brand presence, a friend of mine sent me the most recent case of BMW and I think it is very relevant for this discussion. I think this creative idea would be one of the most commented in 2011 as it made people to see the logo in an advertising execution that it had no logo. And I want to bring it to this discussion because I think it is part of this "trend".

Building a brand without the logo is, obviously, the largest challenge. The one-million-dollar question. The interesting part is to keep in mind those cases that show us alternative ways of building relevance to brands and make them big social phenomena. It is very interesting to check those brands that have been able to add brand value to its communication efforts without being obvious. Those that have been able to place more value on the experience than in the logo. Technology is the main ally to focus our efforts on branding with relevant content rather than maintaining the logo-centric way of relationship that dominates many brands.

To see the case of BMW, please click here

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