Category

BRAND STORYTELLING

Category

There should be 3 bits at the beginning of your website.

They are:

  1. What you are like to work with.
  2. The effect/result of working with/choosing  you.
  3. What you actually do/what category you are in. Why you are different and better.

Here’s how I tackle this with mychael.

1.  What you are like to work with.

Turning businesses into brands is amazing! Because brand-rich businesses – are rich businesses.

I’m enthusiastic! Obsessive and clear about what I do – and why.

2. The effect/result of working with/choosing  you.

I get brands noticed, remembered and chosen. I help brands identify why they are different and better. To own their difference. And to tell their story beautifully.

3. Why you are different or better. What your unique approach is. Your brand.

Seriously Playful® means taking emotional and adventurous approaches to Brand Strategy and Storytelling. Standing out, not blending in. Brave, not boring. Creative, not cautious.

25 years and 70 awards in, I work quickly and precisely. Because I am senior enough and seasoned enough to know the rules of world-class brand building. Knowing which rules to follow is important. Knowing which rules to ignore is importanter.

There.

As simple as 1,2,3.

If you already run a business.

And you want to run a brand.

A proper brand, I mean.

A brand that is valuable because it guides you in the day-to-day.

And valuable because it makes you more money.

There is a lot to get right.

And one of the most important things to get right in the early stages.

Is perspective.

Perspective. 

Most people I work with as a Brand Strategist.

Think that it is the job of a brand to support the product and services on offer.

It isn’t.

It is in fact the other way round.

It is the job of the products and services on offer to support the brand.

What this means. 

What this means is that.

If you already run a business.

And you want to run a brand.

A proper brand, I mean.

A brand that is valuable because it guides you in the day-to-day.

And valuable because it makes you more money.

You have to make promises you believe in.

(I’ll get that right with you).

And you have to make promises you can deliver on.

(That’s your job.

But we’ll keep an eye on it as-we-go to make sure you stay true to who you are).

And all of this invariably involves at least some adaptation of the products and services on offer.

Change.

So stay flexible.

Be prepared to change.

Because if you really do want to build a brand.

Change to what you actually do.

As well as how you actually do it.

Is inevitable.

I am torn.

Really, I am.

Fast Fashion.

Primark, Matalan and similar Fast Fashion brands cancelled 2.4 billion dollars worth of clothing orders from Bangladesh once the Covid-19 crisis began to accelerate.

The result?

Starving workers.

Starving families.

The solution?

https://loststock.co

Loststock

Loststock will send you 3 or 4 pieces of clothing.

From the stockpile of (no longer) Matalan and Primark clothing.

In 4 to 6 weeks.

For £35.

And that.

Apparently.

Will feed a worker and their family for a week.

And if there is 2.4 billion dollars worth of orders sat there.

Then they can process around 6 million orders.

Torn. 

I’m torn though.

Because Primark and Matalan are the people that create the kind of clothing of which less than 20% are actually worn.

The kind of clothing that 70% of which becomes landfill within 3 years.

The kind of clothing that, amazingly, 30% of which never reaches the consumer anyway.

Because for some people.

Fashion moves faster than the clothing can.

Broken.

So all I am hearing from Loststock.

Is a cry for help to mend a broken, broken business.

A business that.

Even when it is working as it is designed to work.

It is broken anyway.

And all I am hearing from Primark and Matalan.

Is that they are double-bastards.

Bastards because they really don’t care about the environment and care little about the consumer habits they were encouraging pre-covid 19.

And double bastards because they clearly care even less about their supply chain than we once thought.

The Future.

I don’t know what to do best for the future.

I am torn because a little bit of me feels like these bad behaving brands are sat there.

Arms crossed.

Whilst Loststock try to solve their problems for them.

I am torn because.

Whilst I feel compelled to help.

I really don’t want to buy the shit clothes that have been commissioned.

And I don’t want to build a bridge for the factories.

From where they are now.

To the other side of Covid-19.

So that Primark and Matalan can pick up from where they left oiff on 6 months time.

So yes.

I am torn.

Really, I am.

More here:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/apr/02/fashion-brands-cancellations-of-24bn-orders-catastrophic-for-bangladesh

I’ve started a few businesses.

10, in fact.

And it’s taken me all these years to be brave enough.

And to make the link between what I do.

And who I am.

Tight enough.

To give me the confidence to put my own name front-and-centre.

Mychael. 

mychael.co.uk is my new brand.

Here’s how I articulate what it’s all about:

Turning businesses into brands is amazing! Because brand-rich businesses – are rich businesses.

I get brands noticed, remembered and chosen. I help brands identify why they are different and better. To own their difference. And to tell their story beautifully.

Seriously Playful® means taking emotional and adventurous approaches to Brand Strategy and Storytelling. Standing out, not blending in. Brave, not boring. Creative, not cautious.

25 years and 70 awards in, I work quickly and precisely. Because I am senior enough and seasoned enough to know the rules of world-class brand building. Knowing which rules to follow is important. Knowing which rules to ignore is importanter.

A new chapter.

It’s great pinning down what you do.

(And even greater pinning down what you are for).

We’re moving nicely through lockdown now.

Well, nicely through this lockdown.

There may be another one.

Or there may be another few.

After all.

The virus is still out there.

And the vaccine – isn’t.

The Old Normal. 

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know what my crystal ball just told me about what it is going to be like for business communications on the other side of lockdown.

I wanted to let you know what brand builders and marketers and designers should be doing once we are through lockdown.

So here it is.

If you are a brand builder or a marketer or a designer.

When we are the other side of lockdown.

Do pretty much the same as you did before.

Because it won’t be a new normal.

It will be an old normal.

Everything after lockdown.

And I mean everything.

Will be pretty much the same as it was before lockdown.

Good or Shit. 

You may also find this useful.

When we get to the other side of lockdown.

You will either be a good brand builder, marketer or designer.

Or you will be a shit brand builder, marketer or designer.

Here’s how you can work it out:

  1. If you were shit before lockdown, you’ll still be shit after lockdown. Either because you’ll simply still be same shit after lockdown as you were before. Or you’ll be shit after lockdown because even though  you used to be good before lockdown. You’ll be expecting a fundamentally different world and that fundamentally different brand building, marketing or design approaches will be appropriate as a consequence. Either way. You’ll be shit.
  2. If you were good before. And you understand that in every pandemic, war or deep recession – ever – markets and consumer behaviour were back to what they were before within months – you’ll still be good. But only if you keep the same fundamental approach at a brand level. With just a few minor tweaks (if any) at a marketing or design level.

After lockdown. 

So there you go.

If you want to know what will work in the new normal.

After lockdown.

Simply remember (or learn) the very, very best of what worked in the old normal.

And do that.

Said Baaghil is one of the world’s best known Brand Experts.

Particularly in the Middle East.

He’s better known as Unconventional Baaghil.

And he’s a thoroughly nice chap.

Opinion. 

I have an opinion about brand.

It is that,

The thing with brand is that, it is just so simple.

It is so simple that even some of the greatest business minds don’t understand it.

I build on this by exploring how most business leaders overcomplicate brand.

So they brand is always sub-optimal.

LinkedIn.

Anyhow, I recently spoke about this on LinkedIn.

Baaghil saw it.

Commented.

Asked me to appear on his global podcast.

And, later, invited me to join his global consultancy portal, TakeAnswers.

Unconventional. 

Unconventional thinking.

Attracts unconventional people.

And as a consequence.

Unconventional things happen to you.

Try it.

Throw your opinion out there.

Be brave.

Who knows what might happen?

Roger Blight was in my team of Brand Consultants.

At the first Brand Consultancy that I founded, Violet Bick.

Roger Blight.

Before Roger and I worked together.

Roger had been Financial Director of Nike (UK).

He was with Nike for 18 years through much of the 80’s and 90’s .

So Roger worked at a comparatively small Nike at the beginning.

And the stories Roger told about how Nike grew.

Are as important now as they were 40 years ago.

From 3 to 1.

Nike were third in the world behind Reebok and Adidas when the 1991 recession hit.

Adidas and Reebok, fearful of the future, adjusted brand communication and (amongst other things) reduced advertising spend.

They held their breath.

Roger and Nike didn’t.

They kept on investing budget, time and energy.

They kept the brand breathing.

And Nike leapfrogged them both to emerge as the global number 1 just a few years later.

Business as Usual. 

OK, so it’s not ‘Business as Usual’ at the moment.

But – more than we think – it really is ‘Consumers as Usual’.

Consumers today are the same people they were 6 months ago.

They’ll still be fundamentally the same in a couple of years.

And there is always a gap between what consumers say they will do and what they actually do.

Especially when data is gathered in exceptional times.

Don’t Pause (Completely).

So shift shape and shift gear yes.

But don’t pause completely.

Don’t hold your breath.

Because you may not last very long at all if you do.

Endnote. 

OK.

OK.

I have to add an endnote to this apparently simple bit of, ‘keep spending (budget, energy and/or time)’ advice.

As well as my apparently simple observation that ‘people stay the same no matter what’.

Especially because I am the Founder of Always Wear Red.

A brand dedicated to changing the way consumers buy clothing.

Banking on (and influencing) morphing consumer priorities.

Look…

All I am saying is be careful of these two things:

  1. Be careful you don’t make the mistake of seeing the world how you’d like it to be – instead of how it really is.
  2. Be careful you don’t make any long term decisions for your brand based on what people are feeling, saying and doing right now.

So if it sounds like I am zigging and zagging a bit with this subject.

I am.

And if it sounds like I am almost ‘advising myself’.

And reminding myself to be careful of the two things I’ve mentioned just above, too.

I am.

Important.

This is important.

Because, in summary, whilst there will be some behavioural changes in your customer base because of the virus.

History tells us that the change us unlikely to be anywhere near as extreme as you imagine.

And it is also unlikely to last anywhere near a long as you’d imagine either.

If you want to chat about this, please email me at hello@mychael.co.uk as a get-go.

You’re welcome anytime.

This is interesting.

It’s the story.

(Albeit from just one persons perspective).

Of what happened when Tropicana rebranded in 2009.

7 Minutes. 

It’s a 7 minute read.

But it is worth 7 minutes of your time.

Because of this:

When Tropicana hired legendary ad agency Arnell in 2008, they surely didn’t expect that, after five months of design work, launch planning, and $35 million in marketing spend, they’d lose 20% of their revenue within a month — about $20 million total in missed sales.

But that’s exactly what happened.

It’s a smart little story about babies.

Bath water.

And how some marketing people have no idea of what is important and what is not.

A neat story from Niklas Göke.

https://medium.com/better-marketing/the-worst-rebrand-in-the-history-of-orange-juice-1fc68e99ad81.

I sent one of my clients a love letter this week.

Exploring the best things for them to do in 2020.

With regards to business and brand communication.

In the context of my role as a brand chap.

And a much-changed, virus-impacted world.

Data.

It’s not possible for me to suggest what everyone should do.

But it is possible to highlight trends and information that everyone should be cognisant of.

Here’s (some of) what I wrote:

…in the meantime, here are two things for you to ponder. On top of our impending chats about the Brand Framework and Adcepts etc.

Deep Recession, Brand and Business Communication.

Historically, when deep recessions and/or global crises happen, businesses of all kinds and sizes – pause.

It’s understandable. But historical data shows that, without exception, it is also exactly the wrong thing to do.

So, to my two points. And by the way this is not just my opinion and experience. If you were to read the narrative from infinitely more recognised and renowned voices than mine (Mark Ritson, Dave Trott et al), the message is the same.

1. To stop communicating altogether is a big mistake. The most powerful brands and brand owners in the word – P&G for example – actually increase or at the very least maintain energy and spend. Knowing that in the space created by the other choices in the market’s inactivity, they will achieve a far greater eSOV (Excess Share of Voice). The strategy should be slightly different, but not much. And certainly not like this tactical rubbish: https://www.50odd.co.uk/invisible/.

2. On the other side of this dark period, so (let’s say) 2022, the world will be largely the same as it was in 2019. This is something that data shows – without exception or outliers – after every global crisis. So those that think (wishfully) that the world will change dramatically in this way or that, are wrong. As is anyone that is asking how we all feel right now, and then developing any medium to long term brand strategy around the findings. In short, a strong brand’s brand strategy remains largely unchanged. Because good brands know that brand is playing the long game. Even through a pandemic. We can explore short term marketing campaigns of course. But they will be designed to end as we come through this unusual but temporary period. Because as the situation changes back, so too will the consumer…

My comments are just that.

Comments.

But have a think.

Are these comments relevant to you, too?

Change.

The world has changed.

But this will pass.

And one thing I do know.

Is that it will be harder for you to switch back on from complete disconnection.

Than it will be to accelerate on from the place in the consumer’s mind that – right now – you worked hard to hold on to.

This will pass.

Be ready.

Who do you think you’re talking to?

Opinion Formers?

Or Opinion Followers?

Opinion Formers.

Opinion Formers.

They are the kinds of people that are hungry for.

And that seek out.

Unusual ideas, approaches and people.

Opinion Formers seek out the outrageous and the brave.

Opinion Formers seek out the new and the interesting.

Then, from everything that they observe.

And everything that they learn.

They germinate then transmit fresh, new ideas, approaches and opinions.

Very often siting and/or reframing what they have learned from the unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting people they chose to listen to.

Opinion Followers.

Opinion Followers are happy to soak up what everyone else soaks up.

They tend not to question things too much.

They just want know ‘what’s going on’.

Opinion Formers versus Opinion Followers.

If you have something to say.

Something unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting.

And you want to reach people with your notions.

And change things with your notions.

Seek out Opinion Formers.

Because Opinion Formers become an actual channel for you.

And as each Opinion Formers comes with their own Opinion Followers.

Plus the attention of other Opinion Formers.

Your messages travel further.

Braver.

If all you do is talk to Opinion Followers.

You’ll grow your reach slowly and organically I suppose.

But Opinion Followers don’t have much of an audience.

So it’s all a bit.

Well.

Slow.

And it is not in the nature of an Opinion Follower to site and/or reframe what they have learned from the unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting people they chose to listen to.

They’ll nod politely.

And make you feel you have something to say.

But they won’t challenge you.

And so it follows that you have to be a bit braver if you choose to converse with Opinion Formers.

Because Opinion Formers ask more questions.

What do you mean?

What do you mean?

What do you mean?

So you’d better have a good answer.

Opinions. 

If you have an opinion.

And you think your opinion matters.

Behave like an Opinion Former.

That means being unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting.

And look to converse with other Opinion Formers.

Other unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting people.

That way.

You have the potential not only to change your world.

But you really do have the potential to change the world, too.