Think broadly about your brand before you commit to a TV push

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Q I’m thinking of investing in a TV ad campaign. Our growth is beginning to plateau and I feel it could really take us to a new level and build our brand equity. Investing in your brand can never be wrong, right?

Well it sounds good… and no one would ever say don’t invest in your brand. But, hands up, I have to admit I never managed to crack a successful TV campaign. I wish I’d kept the cash - or to gain popularity in the office, thrown a huge party.

Someone once told me that you need to spend at least £2m in order for your investment to really make a difference on the telly. I’ve got another theory and it’s not just mine. TV advertising is yesterday’s answer and in the past allowed you to get away with selling average products… but people are a lot smarter these days, particularly the type of people who are really spreading good ideas and creating new trends.

Look at the brands that have really created cut-through over the past 10 years - Green & Black’s, Innocent, Gü or Tyrrells. I haven’t heard anybody say: ‘I love such and such because their ad is so cool.’ In the main, what people really say is: ‘I love this brand because it’s remarkable and stands out from the crowd… and I’m telling all my mates about it.’

So for me the right question is: ‘How can I get people to evangelise about my brand?’ Now that’s a much more interesting problem. And the answer? Make it exceptional - good is no longer good enough. I always used to say we built Gü on the back of small tank of petrol: we gave people the impression we were investing lots of money but the reality was that we created some disruption and got noticed.

One of our best marketing stunts was selling our mini pots to Virgin Atlantic. Good chocolate is one of the few products to not have its taste dulled by the cabin pressure at 35,000 ft. Not only that, I was convinced that two million people a year staring at our brand for two hours on their meal tray was having some deep subconscious effect… and the craziest thing about this was that some people chose to fly Virgin purely because they served Gü in economy. Everybody won!

So, save your money and get properly creative. And make something remarkable… an idea that’s worth spreading.

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