After watching local news coverage of a recent health initiative against soft drinks, I noticed people interviewed on the street taking the quest to ban sugary drinks personally. I found that I was taking it personally as well. Not from a moral or ethical stance. The issue of health seemed, oddly enough, not to be the issue. But why?
Even with documentaries like Super Size Me, the dichotomous rift was felt. The fact is, I don’t drink much soda and maybe indulge in McDonald’s a few times each year, so why am I viewing health campaigns that may save lives as character assassinations?
Perhaps this isn’t the storyline we envisioned for the characters of our youth—yes, characters. Not brands.
How do I describe my brand?
Growing up, McDonald’s was not a golden arch through which you passed wheezing, overweight, and with hypertension. It was a special treat—magic in a box with a toy to boot. But more importantly, it was a character. It was Ronald. It was fun. It was bright and colorful. It was a buddy to clown around with on special occasions.
The same for Coca-Cola. It was not a tooth-rotting solvent that caused childhood obesity; it was an ageless seductress donning a red and white gown, transcending space and time. She carried herself in a bold, crisp manner. The same curvy goddess our grandparents embraced as children. And 70 years later, she was still capable, after each sip, of eliciting an, “Ahh.”
There are a lot of exercises out there claiming to help you nail down your brand’s character or define your brands voice. But all these exercises do is simply describe your brand.
My brand as a character.
Not characterization. Not personality. Character.
Have you ever considered going beyond adjectives and into action? Have you ever considered your brand as a character? More importantly, have you moved that character around in the plot of your brand, or is it a passive spectator?
If your brand was trying to land a date with a leading man, or woo the woman who caught your eye at the coffee shop, would it be a goofy charmer? A confident, crisply dressed Don Juan? Educated and articulate? Mumbling, bumbling, but gosh darn adorable?
The story is changing for our favorite characters. Heroes have become villains. Perhaps we are being too sensitive. Education can change the story behind brands; however, there is something satisfying about rooting for the bad guy in any story, but are these characters truly bad? Or is this just a conflict introduced into their storyline?