Why Dimitri should get off his couch…
Owning a good brand positioning in people’s heads today is like owning prime real estate smack in the middle of overpopulated Tokyo. If you’re living in prime area, you’ve either invested early through a first mover advantage, or you’ve spend hefty sums and bought your way through. The rest are stuck living in the middle of nowhere or squeezing into a back alley studio at a ridiculous cost just to be near anything.
The old greats own prime space in our minds facing the most interested of our nodes. Adidas spent a bulk of cash on media, sponsorships and endorsements and now overlook the glorious Arc of Triumph and Transcendence with ‘Impossible is nothing’ and just walks away from the older neighbor who bought early, Johnnie Walker’s ‘Keep Walking’. Most big beer brands like Bud light and Heineken have lofts with prime views overlooking the Gardens of Male bonding. Axe and Old Spice look over the River ‘Poony’ - a place where all men long to bathe. Honda managed to find a flat facing The Bay of Dreams and of course, not too far away, Obama’s latest mansion smack in the middle of Hope Town has probably made what was once a cheesy urban settlement the next hot place for brands to live. We’ve already seen the big boys like Pepsi try to move in next door.
People’s minds have become so over populated that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to own an interesting, relevant position or spot without forking out enough dough to keep your media buyers happily Lebanese for a long time. So it’s best we drop this illusion that one day we’ll come up with 3 lines so original that all the clever turtle neck wearing planners around the world and across time would smack themselves in the face for not having thought of it and all the people would gawk with enthusiasm gushing from their eyes money raining from their hands at the very site of your brand sitting atop this uninhabited plot of land.
Today, if we look at the brands that are surfacing, or have surfaced, they have abandoned real estate. Instead, they have gone to the streets with something more meaningful to people than just an association – they have taken to the streets with a Purpose. A meaningful human purpose exists at the center of these brands. Not a promise. Not a benefit. Not a position. A purpose. Dove campaign for real beauty, Google arrange the worlds information, Starbucks exists to provide a ‘third place’ to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee, Cadbury deliver joy, and so on. Most of today’s brands with strong momentum have abandoned this idea of real estate and have instead taken to the streets with a Purpose and acted upon that purpose. It’s time for big brands to step out of their big beautiful homes, tell us what they care about… and act on it.