Branding = powerful

If you are involved in web marketing or SEO, then you need to be able to appreciate the purpose and value of branding. My awareness of branding has grown considerably in the past few years, yet I'm still fooled by the simplest tricks that the marketing gurus throw my way.

The story

The other day, I had an interesting experience I thought I might share. It all started when I was preparing for a late night coding session to get a certain feature implemented onto a website. I thought it might help if I had some milk for my coffee, so I raced up the road to the gas station, where I grabbed some milk and bread, and then thought I might grab myself an energy drink to keep myself perky (no I don't really think they work but it's just another mechanism for delivering sugar and caffeine).

The choices

I'm standing at the fridge choosing my energy drink. Instinctively, the hand reaches for the familiar "Lift Plus" which I have bought before. At this point I stop myself, and take a moment to think why I'm going for the Lift Plus. I decide to try another brand, for no particular reason.
Tab energy drink - pink bottle

I scan the fridge and spot an energy drink in a bright pink bottle. Everything about this bottle screams "Don't buy me!". Clearly, this product was not designed for blokey men like myself. I feel myself connecting with the marketing agency who designed the bottle and they are telling me not to buy the drink because it will make me a girly girl. I'm getting frustrated - I want to prove that I'm immune to what brand agencies tell me to do, but I don't want to be seen walking out of the shop with a pink energy drink. I tell myself it doesn't matter, and that I'm bigger than this. The branding on the drink bottle laughs at me, telling me I'm scared. I am scared.

The shame

I look around to make sure nobody is watching, then I pick up the drink and proceed to the counter.

The guy at the counter has a smirk on his face when I buy the pink colored drink, as if I had just purchased a large stack of porn. Ashamed, I exit the store with my girly energy drink, and drive home.

The taste

The drink itself tastes pretty much exactly the same as any other energy drink. I'm now feeling full of adrenaline and on top of the world for stepping outside my comfort zone and doing something I clearly wasn't supposed to do. I relate this story to a friend who says there is no way he would have the guts to buy a pink energy drink.

I didn't notice this at the time, but this drink is labeled as being a "Low calorie energy drink". This is somewhat of an oxymoron in that a calorie is a unit for measuring energy. Buying a "low calorie energy drink" is akin to buying a "Low decibel hi-fi system" or a "low velocity urgent courier". I'm not sure what message the branding people are trying to give here, this is clearly over my head.

The conclusion

If you are in charge of a brand, I say you are in a powerful position of authority. What emotions does your brand generate in the minds of the public?
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Tags: brandingofftopicnon seobranding off topic "non seo"