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Brand Strategy

Using Improv To Build Brands


Using Improv To Build Brands

With an abundance of data at their fingertips marketers try to analyze and optimize everything, from consumer journey touchpoints to media placements through clicks, page views and store visits.

Trying to decipher millions of data points can be mind-numbing and misleading, because your dataset is likely riddled with bad data. Too often considered as the ultimate source of truth, big data and analytics distract marketers from what matters most: the big idea. Once you finished reading this article, close your laptop, turn off your cell phone and reflect on these 3 key questions:

  • Does your brand play a clear, credible role in its category?
  • Does your brand message resonate with your consumers in a positive fashion?
  • Is your brand and creative aspirational and do they trigger an emotional response?

For all the big data in the world, strong brand identity and impactful creative remain the foundations for brand growth and marketing effectiveness. Indeed, research shows that creative quality remains the single most influential factor driving in-store sales lift from advertising campaigns. This analysis indicates that 49% of a brand’s sales lift from advertising can be attributed to the creative.

Finding a big idea for your brand is easier said than done. Enter the brainstorming sessions, focus groups, consumer interviews and other research methods meant to unveil the wow your brand needs to stand out. These traditional methods are proven to deliver results for most products and audiences.

The Path To Big Ideas Often Takes You In A Different Direction

That said, a meeting room equipped with a two way mirror may not be the best setting to elicit insights from undergrads, men suffering with ED, or millennials (who should be) planning for their retirement. Also, anyone who’s ever been involved in research knows too well how hard it is to engage people with products such as bleach, foot powder, cooking oil or just about anything that doesn’t elicit much emotion.

Aware of the limitations of these traditional methods, Kantar has joined forces with Second City Works to create a new research format called Brandstage. This format relies on improvisational performers as human stimulus to engage consumers and reveal human truths.

Brandstage is a discovery experience that helps marketers rethink their brand, modernize it and evolve their creative process, notes Tim Kibbey of Kantar Millward Brown, Firefly Practice. Beyond brand strategy, Brandstage works with marketers to ignite new product innovations, originate marketing ideas and explore customer experience opportunities.

But why would Second City, the theater company that launched the careers of Steve Carrell, Tina Fey or Stephen Colbert work with brand managers? Steve Johnston, president of The Second City, puts it simply: “We believe laughter, or no laughter at all, is a powerful insight. For the past 60 years, Second City has used its improvisation-based creative techniques to gauge the response of an audience and to measure the totality of an idea. The same methods we use to take the cultural temperature of a captive audience at Second City can be used to determine the effectiveness of a particular campaign, brand message or content territory.”

Brand strategy is exciting because we get to experiment with new tools, come up with ideas that seem crazy at first and pioneer partnerships. Whether it is Brandstage or another format, try something new today. It will energize your brand, your creatives and your team. This in turn will ultimately translate into consumer delight.

The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections

Build A Human Centric Brand At Marketing’s Most Powerful Event: The Un-Conference: 360 Degrees of Brand Strategy for a Changing World, May 14-16, 2018 in San Diego, California. A fun, competitive-learning experience reserved for 50 marketing oriented leaders and professionals.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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