Riding the Brand Wave


Riding the Brand Wave

Shortly after we helped one of our clients survive the upheaval of being acquired, I picked up The Wave by Susan Casey. In the book she explores the phenomenon of rogue waves. Still largely unexplained, there are at least two known causes:

  1. Seismic events beneath the surface
  2. Hurricane force winds on the surface

During our client's brand transition program, the analogy hit me like this…

When a killer wave comes to your business you don't have the option of standing still. But if you catch it just right it will work to your advantage – you’ll be riding a huge "brand wave" that builds your reputation.

Seismic Event

Our client’s brand wave was caused by a seismic event. They were acquired by a global investment company and needed to retire their 100-year old moniker and invent a totally new brand name. They had about two months notice.

No panic, much of the strategic repositioning underway for the old brand was still relevant. The brand expression that we had just completed could be modified. Our web team was already reengineering the site architecture, planning for SEO and integrated analytics. And the pent-up need for more PR and social media had a new mission. We were ready to help transform them and take them to a new level. What would normally be a linear process became a central force pushing out in all directions at once.

All work began simultaneously: exploring possible names, checking trademarks, global cultural implications, multiple logo designs, writing video scripts, new content, translations and preparation for "day one" events. Everything from buying up possible URLs for the microsite to choosing logo-ready merchandise to help energize everyone internally.

The result? Instead of being crushed by change, their company was riding a huge brand wave.

Claiming Your Mega Wave

There’s no need to wait for a seismic event to find your own mega wave. In B2B there are always undercurrents and market forces driven by economic pressures, increased competition and changing technologies. These forces pile up at different times all over the world.

In a business-as-usual scenario you would push out you message on a regular basis in all media, making your own brand waves. But claiming a mega wave depends on using external forces as part of your strategy and focusing your energy in peak intervals – timed to major events or business cycles.

Like surfers who are pulled up onto monster waves by their buddies on jet skis, peaks of marketing horsepower are required for you to own a larger share of the conversation at critical times. Tactics timed to a specific event, heavy participation in emerging markets or a specific technology. Peaks of acceleration allow you to grab share as the market is growing, which is less expensive in the long run.

Surfing analogies aside, your current customers already know you. Keeping their interest will only take you so far. You need to get the attention of new customers. So go ahead, catch a rogue.

About the Author

Tom Ballew
Creative Director

The most exciting part of being a creative director is helping to build a whole program from a single idea and watching it return real results.


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