“During these trying times…” it is important to note that no one cares about your brand. Not particularly. Not in the way that we think people do in the context of ‘Brand Love’ briefs, hoping a single piece of creative work will magically convince people that what they’ve been missing all along, is your brand in their daily grind.
And while we certainly care – that collective ‘we’ being agency folk and brand custodians; those who proudly label themselves as ‘Marketeers’ on LinkedIn and Twitter profiles – the average South African struggling with job security, the rising cost of living, corruption, a lack of basic service delivery and the uncertainty that comes with living through a pandemic – that South African simply doesn’t have the bandwidth for your feel-good manifesto.
“But what about showing empathy?”
Surely the role of brands is to reassure and comfort consumers – to be a shoulder to cry on and offer a sense of hope when things get tough?
‘Empathy’ – like its well-established and equally misattributed Adland cousin ‘Insight’ – can prove an ethereal concept when the intention is to retrofit a message rather than truly listen, offer a solution and help solve a problem in a way that is meaningful.
While the pursuit of both is well-meaning, this ultimately falls short of consumer relevance when we aren’t brave enough to ask the question:
“Will this make someone’s life better?”
In a climate in which consumer trust in the economy as a whole can directly be linked to the country’s Covid response at any given time, brands and their custodians need to have a level of self-awareness that goes beyond buzzwordy-jargon and instead truly empathise by placing themselves in the often anxiety-fraught lives of the people they serve.
Supercuts of brands melding into a disingenuous Covid sea-of-sameness either through messaging, tone or visual imagery have highlighted the need to rethink the way in which we approach our work – not just for the pandemic, but for the long term (and no, I will not be using the phrase ‘new-normal’).
Normal is what we should avoid. Brave is what we should aim for – because bravery is the catalyst that shifts brands from merely having a message to actually making an impact. Apart from it being in our agency DNA, global research shows that brave brands are not just memorable and culturally relevant, they also perform best in terms of driving revenue and long-term effectiveness.
At Brave Group we understand that brands, like consumers, are faced with two key challenges; namely challenges of relevance and challenges of growth. With over a decade of experience crafting creative solutions to multiple business challenges, we know that brands are only as relevant as their Next Brave Action.
This is our strategic philosophy; the idea that being brave requires far more than thoughtless bravado and instead focuses on having a considered approach. It’s not about grand gestures or big budgets – The Next Brave Action is a mindset that allows us to find a space for relevance for both brands and consumers depending on the challenge at hand.
Studies by publications from Forbes to the Harvard Business Review have shown how bravery within the leadership and brand space requires two crucial actions: Inward Reflection and Outward Opportunity Seeking.
“The challenge we face in today’s modern world is to discern between the fears that are serving us and those that are holding us back,” and in order to overcome those fears we need to understand the nuances in culture, the category in which we operate and importantly, the lived experience of our audience.
Being brave is not about the absence of fear but instead it is the enemy of fear. The true power of our approach lies in identifying the enemy that brands must overcome in order to be authentically relevant and achieve sustainable growth. In this way we are able to craft a brand narrative that is ownable, credible and differentiated from the noise of competitors and culture creators alike.
The ability to distil complex challenges into a single-minded Next Brave Action (NBA) is what sets us apart. The NBA is more than a one-dimensional strategic platform – it operates at the intersection of brand and customer experience, allowing an orchestration of meaningful engagement at every touchpoint.
We believe strongly that:
Brave Actions find a way where others give up.
Brave Actions inspire rather than interrupt.
Brave Actions have a share of culture, not just a share of voice.
Brave Actions have a purpose beyond targets.
BRAVE IS A MINDSET FOR GROWTH
We look forward to connecting with you on how we can co-create your Next Brave Action.