Category

BRAND STORYTELLING

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Time to think.

You have that now.

Do with it what you will.

But if you decide that one of the things you want to do with your newfound headspace.

Is to turn your business into a brand.

Here’s where to start.

Silence. 

First.

Sit alone.

Silently.

Read what I’ve written below.

Then close your eyes.

And think about what I wrote.

Brand.

To be a brand is to unearth.

To stake a claim for.

And to then grow to stand for a unique and ownable perception in the mind of the consumer.

This perception will be simple.

Clear.

Relevant.

Distinct.

And compelling.

So compelling in fact that.

To those responsible for building the perception internally.

As well as to those we want to attract on the outside.

It becomes impossible to ignore.

This is what it means to be a brand .

Remember.

And remember.

Remember why building a brand is a fantastic thing to do.

It is because brand-rich businesses.

Are rich businesses.

(This story is best read at the 50odd website. Because there’s a 30 second video in it: https://www.50odd.co.uk/banks/).

Banks don’t get it.

Either from the perspective of What Banks Should Be Doing.

Or How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

And that is why.

(And I am generalising of course).

Why I think that banks are arrogant, detached, uncaring, ignorant and deeply shitty organisations.

What Banks Should Be Doing. 

Banks should look after people.

And banks should look after economies.

Because people and economies are interdependent.

But instead.

In the same week that the base rate was dropped.

On the first day of lockdown in 2020.

Because of Covid-19.

In the United Kingdom.

We read about banks doing this:

“HSBC raised its arranged and unarranged overdraft charges to 39.9 per cent on March 14, up from 9.9 per cent for premium customers’ arranged overdrafts and 19.9 per cent for standard overdrafts.

First Direct and M&S Bank increased overdraft fees to 39.9 per cent.

Halifax and Lloyds are due to lift rates to the same figure at the start of next month. Nationwide and Natwest already charge 39.9 per cent and 39.5 per cent respectively.

This.

Is not what banks should be doing.

How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

And so to my second point.

How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

Let’s take a quick look at the current 30 seconds Lloyds TV advert.

This is Lloyds.

A bank.

Saying they’re a bank.

And that’s it.

This is a bank running an actual ad.

Costing millions of pounds of their customer’s money.

To tell their customers they are focused on delivering on the one first principle that all banks should be doing.

Stopping the money you ask them to look after.

From disappearing.

It’s just shit.

Other Businesses.

Let’s imagine other businesses adopted the same strategy.

Let’s imagine that restaurants did the same.

Come to our Restaurant.

We cook food.

Or a jumper company.

Buy our jumpers.

You can wear them.

Or a furniture company,

Buy our chairs.

You can.

Err.

Sit in them.

Utter fucking rubbish.

Banks. 

Banks have the opportunity to deliver positively on much higher order needs and wants.

Societal change could be addressed.

If they rethought how they remunerate people internally.

How much deserves they hoard.

How much they spend on refurbishing largely empty premises.

How they set themselves up as brands.

And how they build value and values into their actual reason for being.

But banks don’t get it.

Either from the perspective of What Banks Should Be Doing.

Or How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

And that is why.

(And I am generalising of course).

Why I think that banks are arrogant, detached, uncaring, ignorant and deeply shitty organisations.

Quotation Source.

I wrote about Fred Rogers here: https://www.50odd.co.uk/mistakes/.

A nice chap by all accounts.

Not least because he instilled in all children.

That they are special.

Narcissist. 

Such a straight-forwardly kind approach was, however, interpreted by some quite differently to how Mr. Rogers intended.

Some considered that such a buoying approach to how children are encouraged and supported.

Produced narcissists.

Youngsters.

And eventually oldsters.

That could become defined by a strutting arrogance.

Vanity.

And self-flattery.

Imagining, determinedly, that they can do anything.

My View.

I have a view on this.

I think it is overly simplistic, negative bullshit.

Spouted by the kind of people that can find a cloud for every silver lining.

So I ignore it.

The Golem Effect.

This wee tale is however a neat precursor to what I wanted to spotlight.

The Golem Effect.

The Golem Effect is a psychological phenomenon worth remembering.

Especially by anyone that leads people.

Because if you lead people.

It is such a great responsibility.

It is the responsibility to help them become the best they can be.

To make them feel special.

And so it follows that I’d like to spotlight.

As would Mr. Rogers too, I’d wager.

What The Golem Effect actually is:

The Golem Effect is a psychological phenomenon in which lower expectations placed upon individuals either by supervisors or the individual themselves lead to poorer performance by the individual.

This effect is mostly seen and studied in educational and organizational environments.

So in other words.

A person’s performance declines when supervisors or teachers have low expectations of that person’s abilities.

Special.

Help your people to grow.

Take the time to listen to what they want.

Make them feel special.

Because they are special.

And make sure that The Golem Effect is not a part of your organisation.

Because if they can never maximise.

Neither can you.

Marketing should be clear.

Marketing should be helpful.

Marketing should be generous.

Marketing should be warmly given.

Marketing should feed them.

Marketing should think about long term relationship building.

Marketing should show integrity.

Marketing should be interesting and progressive.

Marketing should deliver information in they way they want to get it, not in the way you want to give it.

Marketing should be patient.

Not.

Marketing should not be underhand.

Marketing should not be manipulative.

Marketing should not tell them just part of the story, so that they have to give of themselves to get the full picture.

Marketing  should not be about quick wins only.

Marketing should not be bullish or intrusive.

Marketing should not be you chest beating.

Marketing should not interrupt them.

Marketing should not make them feel embarrassed or confused because they don’t quite understand what you are saying.

So.

How did you do?

One of the best ways to get attention.

In a world full of so many, many people trying to get attention.

Is to not try to get attention.

Attention.

Attention is precious.

Scarce.

And valuable.

And social media in particular has taught us.

(If we chose to interpret things this way).

That attention is the goal.

And as a consequence.

We increase the frequency of our attendance.

We increase the size of our message.

We plump our colourful plumage to the max.

And we wave.

Mouthing:

Me!

Me!

Me!

So that all we are really doing.

Is adding to the noise.

Flip.

But what if we flipped it?

What if.

When we showed up.

Instead of trying to get as much attention as possible.

We endeavoured to give as much attention as possible.

What if we spent our time working out how we could help.

Working out what we can give.

Instead of spending our time working out how we wanted to be helped.

Working out what we can get.

I’ll Start.

I’ll start.

Some people think I write well.

If you are one of them.

If you’d like to write better yourself.

And if you think it’d help you to explore what goes through my mind.

As I write my 3,650 stories.

Stories that I want you to read every single day.

For 10 years.

Stories that now have a following of over 10,000 people.

After 20 months.

Email michael@50odd.co.uk.

And I’ll chat for half an hour to the first two people that contact me.

You can have my attention.

In full.

At a time that works for us both.

And all I ask.

Is that you.

In the coming days.

You help someone too.

Last week.

I sat alongside the superb team behind one of the most significant historical destinations in England.

I watched their faces.

As we thought together.

Planned together.

And laughter together.

Determined to redouble visitor numbers.

On the back of their beautiful offer.

And a better-told story.

Two days after that.

Miles from home.

I sat alongside the founder of a 25 year old software business.

I watched his face, too.

I watched his eyes flicker.

Right.

Then left.

Then right again.

As we excavated.

Together.

Unearthing answers that would lead us toward category leadership.

And a more valuable brand.

Then.

Two days after that.

On Saturday.

It was Izobel’s face I watched.

I watched Izobel’s face as she concentrated on two brown paper tubes of sugar.

Sat tight in her fist.

I watched her face as she fought to tear the top from both of them.

And I watched as more sugar than I really wanted.

Tumbled into my flat white.

Two Sugars.

That Saturday.

As I sat with Izobel.

My work life paused.

I was reminded that the extraordinary journeys I go on each week.

All lead back to the ordinary moments I spend with my 3 year old Izobel.

And I was also reminded that.

Whilst I love these extraordinary businesses.

I love my ordinary days with Izobel even more.

I even loved the two sugars.

The two sugars that my 3 year old daughter worked so hard to dispense for me.

When in actual fact.

I only take one.

Ordinary.

Ordinary.

The right ordinary, mind.

It’s why we do it.

If you remember this.

You will stop you being derailed.

By some of the crappiness life throws at you.

Nonlinearity.

Ready?

OK:

Nonlinearity is real.

Life.

There is no exact formula for a great life.

Well; not really.

Being kind helps.

As does being generous.

And working hard.

But for the most part – crappiness happens.

And nonlinearity plays a big part in this.

Here’s a reminder how nonlinearity works.

Outputs are not always proportional to inputs.

Nonlinearity is where the relationship between what you do.

And what you get.

Cannot be explained.

Fairness. 

The thing we call ‘fairness’.

Or ‘justice’.

Would dictate that any outcome should change in proportion to a change in input.

The more I do.

The more I get.

For instance.

But life takes us by surprise.

And teaches us otherwise.

Surprise.

My approach is changing to this nonlinearity lark.

I derail less because of unexplainable crappiness.

Because crappiness is not exceptional.

Or unfair.

Or unjust.

It’s just part of my journey.

And whilst I’ll never learn how to remove the crappiness.

I have learned where the non-crappiness is.

And, even though it’s a bit of a nuisance.

The non-crappiness is very often nestled just the other side of the crappiness.

Wellies.

So get your wellies on.

Wade through the crappiness.

And find the happiness.

(This lovely, rhyming ending.

Was donated by my friend. 

Jessica Thamm. 

Thank you, Jessica).

Whenever I employed left-brain people.

Or whenever I worked with left-brain people.

Especially if they were picky.

Especially if they were always looking out for problems.

And shortcomings.

And gaps.

I never got on with them terribly well.

In fact.

I always used to think they were a pain in the arse.

Broken.

These people revel in finding what’s broken.

They smile smugly when they unearth defects.

Dead ends.

And complications.

And I used to find that so annoying!

Because they slowed me down.

They stopped me moving forward.

And I pride myself on how resilient I can be.

Moving forward is important to me.

Change. 

So eventually.

Something had to change.

Because these pain in the arse people and I were clashing.

That is when I decided to identify, isolate and remove the real problem.

And as is true with most issues like this.

Once I’d made the decision.

Properly.

Things got better.

The Problem. 

So.

The real problem.

I identified it.

Isolated it.

And removed it.

And once me being the biggest arse of all stopped.

Once my closed-minded attitude was culled.

It mended everything.

Because I actually realised that.

In many cases.

Avoiding problems can be more important than scoring wins.

And that my untethered entrepreneurial effervescence very often resulted in expensive, wasteful and indulgent daydreaming.

So I calmed.

And I matured.

And stopped being the biggest pain in the arse in the team.

Simple, really.

There’s a good man called Bryan that reads 50odd.

Bryan comments from time to time.

And I like that.

Because I am very often interested to hear how my words impact.

Irresistible. 

Anyhow, Bryan runs a Buckingham based Brand Consultancy.

And just this week.

Because I was chatting about brands and irresistibility in this post.

Bryan sent me some information on how his agency, Yellow Yoyo, create irresistible brands.

Here’s what Bryan said:

Become Irresistible is our mantra too so you made me smile (again!) this morning.

We have a scale we use to define brand status shown below.

Start-ups always begin at invisible and, depending on growing brand strength and perception, you should aim to increase your status.

I think in 40 years I’ve only come across a handful of brands who have achieved Indispensable.

Irresistible is the least you should aim for.

INDISPENSABLE
IRRESISTIBLE
INVESTABLE
INTRIGUING
INTERESTING
INVISIBLE
IRRELEVANT

Have a great week.

Bryan

Thank you.

So there you go.

Thank you Bryan.

I like that.

I think that any business owner.

(If they use this ladder of words as objectively as they can).

Will gain useful insight.

(And of course.

If you don’t like the ladder rung you’re on. 

See Bryan).