The Secret to the Smarter Choice!

In Malaysia, everyone knows, heard or at least find the brand – DiGi (a mobile service provider), familiar and immediately link it to the colour yellow, followed by the yellow man (officiously called YCF – Yellow Coverage Fellow) and the song “I Will Follow You”.

What DiGi has done here is no doubt – Branding. Now, at this point of time you may be thinking along the lines of “but DiGi spent a BOMB on advertising.. I will never get that kind of a budget to spend” or in other words, “branding costs a LOT of money”. That may be true to a certain extend, but do you also know of businesses, companies and organizations that has spent equivalent amount of $$$ but got ZERO returns? I’m sure you do.

So what makes DiGi’s branding movement so successful? Read on!

What DiGi did was unconventional, it was BUZZ. What is BUZZ? Unlike a normal advertisement or a promotion where it starts and fizzles, it starts, explodesand gets everyone TALKING! That is the ultimate difference between mere branding spending and true branding.

BUZZ marketing is one of the most powerful tools in branding as it utilizes the most effective media of all to capture the attention of your customers through personal networks – word of mouth. Believe it or not, word of mouth travels instantaneously especially with today’s technology. Either a bad or good review can immediately show up somewhere online causing hundreds, thousands, and perhaps millions of people reading it! AND, such reviews and comments tend to leave a more lasting impression on individuals. In actual fact, they are forever engraved into the online database. Don’t believe me? Think Facebook! Think Twitter! Think Blogs! These tools aren’t to be messed around lightly as it can be your friend and foe at the very same time.

DiGi's Mascot - The Yellow Coverage Fellow

DiGi's infamous mascot

Being unconventional is one of the keys to BUZZ marketing (I will be giving out more keys on future posts so stay tuned!). DiGi successfully utilized this key by implementing a striking mascot – the yellow man or the YCF. Now pause and think for a bit, who on earth associates telecommunications with man in yellow suits running around? It would have even been a ridiculous thought in the beginning! Well, DiGi did and it caused a storm in Malaysia. People started to talk about it, sharing it with their friends and to find out more about this yellow figure and naturally, the mobile plans that DiGi provides.

Lets put DiGi aside and look at another telecommunications company – Telekom Malaysia (TM). Nothing great, you say? TM recently launched a promotional movement based on the theme “Everyone Connects” and created a massive crowd of followers within a short period of time. They maximized the power of BUZZ and leveraging on today’s technology to spread an initially mysterious video clip online that is said to have won the hearts of Malaysians. People just kept spreading the word (and the video) and they were literally hooked to it! It was also reported in The Star whereby people actually memorized the lyrics to the song to sing-a-long! Whats more is that TM was able to pull a huge street event, closing the roads of Bukit Bintang, KL to have a massive sing-a-long session all these through a video!

That is the power of BUZZ! This is more than advertising.. Yes, it IS advertising, but it is just a TOOL for an effective BRAND MESSAGE – a message that lasts.

Now, is branding advertising? NEVER! Branding… Always The Smarter Choice!

Within every brand is a product, but not every product is a brand…

CK Perfume Advert

Perfume ads often associate sex appeal with their product

The term ‘branding‘ has become so common today that most people, even agencies misuse it interpreting ‘advertising’ into ‘branding‘, therefore creating a public misconception.

“A product is tangible: you can see it, touch it, smell it or even taste it. It has physical attributes – styles, models, features, price and etc.”

An advertisement for a product highlights its physical attributes through packaging, attractive/pretty colours, latest hype, eye catching phrases and even catchy tunes to gain desirability among its consumers. For example, TV commercials for perfume/cologne that often highlights a model’s sex appeal, creating an association between the product and sex appeal.

A brand is a composite of how consumers feel about a product, the personality they attribute to it, the trust they place in it, the confidence it earns from them, the affection they feel for it and above all, their shared experience with the product.

DiGi Logo

DiGi associates its services as the smarter choice over its competitors

An advertisement for a brand highlights the brand’s reliability, quantified market presence and often associated with a product to create a perceived trust among consumers. For example, advertisements in the telecommunications industry in Malaysia whereby the brand’s services, commitment and excellence are often highlighted, creating a perceived reliability and trust just by the mention of the brand although the fact is the service/product offered is similar.

So, is advertising and branding the same? NO! Just as having a product isn’t advertising, advertising isn’t at all branding. Advertising is merely a branding tool to enhance a product’s perceived value in the eyes of the consumers.

The brand is also the most important and sustainable asset a client can have, especially in today’s highly competitive and complex market. A strong brand adds value, resilience and stability, shifts the supply and demand curve right to the bottom line. This profitability is driven by consumer loyalty as the result of a strong relationship between the consumer and the product, tied together by the brand itself.

A strong brand is able to raise the barrier of entry, making competitors think twice before stepping in; It is also able to raise the barrier of exit where existing customers will lose value if they leave as they are bonded to the brand, a relational tie that will not be easily replaced by another.

This is also the role of us, Brand Building Consultants, to build YOUR brand where advertisements alone will NEVER reach as we believe the most valuable service we can provide for our clients is to fully understand, develop and enhance the relationship between a consumer and the brand.