Watching the SuperBowl yesterday, it was impossible to ignore the mega brandstorm going on at commercial breaks. I live in a house of football fanatics, so even though I’m not one of them I knew there was no way we were going to tune out unless it was a blowout, which past years have taught us to expect.
My “reward” came at the commercials – which delivered some unexpected gems (Jeff Bridges’ Tibetan bowl for Squarespace), a few heart wringers (the “Boyhood”-style Cat’s in the Cradle for Lexus), and at least one hot mess (JFK in a Carnival Cruise ad!).
The winner, according to USA Today’s Ad Meter ranking of SuperBowl ads by consumer panel, was Budweiser, who for the second year in a row won over the nacho-crunching audience with its lost puppy spot – featuring an adorable yellow lab lost in the big bad world until the Clydesdales come to rescue him.
Now I’m not sure what that cute puppy has to do with beer any more than I get what Tibetans have to do with web hosting. And while I might fantasize about the day a solar company has the budget to buy a Superbowl ad, at $4.5 million a pop that day’s not likely to come soon. Still there is a place for Superbowl-style branding in solar, and I don’t just mean for the big guys.
Branding is not just about advertising. Branding is about how you want your customer to feel about your company. Why did Budweiser choose a puppy as its mascot? Because everybody loves a puppy! Not everybody loves beer, or what beer companies tout in their advertising. But that’s the last thing on our minds when we see that fuzzy little face.
How do you want your customers to feel about your company? What are you doing to create that feeling?
At its heart, branding is about the relationship you have with your customer. Every day. Do you deliver the best service of any solar company in your community? Own it. Are you the most knowledgeable solar experts in your state? Demonstrate it. Are you the clear efficiency winner, bar none? Prove it.
How your message gets out is less important than what you say, and how consistently you say it.
What is your message as a company? And how will you communicate that message – authentically — in every customer encounter?
Superbowl ads aren’t for everyone, but big brand moments are. Your company’s big brand moment is when you decide to own your true message. And when you reinforce that message at every level of your organization – from the front lines to the back office – you’ll get more love than a little lost puppy.