For a brand to be loved in today’s world it has to be a living entity much like ourselves. It doesn’t matter how great the appearance of the logo or its box is, if it isn’t on the radar of people.

A brand needs to speak, it needs to have a conversation with you, it needs to spark a conversation between people. Today these conversations are instant, global and unsolicited with the web and especially social media.

A brand needs to do way more than sit on a shelf in a store waiting for someone to walk past it and pick it up. It needs to do more than just sit behind some planned media campaign. Instead of just spouting out how wonderful it is on an advertisement, it needs to be seen to be wonderful at the very coal face.

Today, society expects that a brand is putting back into our communities for people and the environment, not because it appears good and will increase sales (trust me, consumers are not fooled by that!) but because it has a culture of people like you and me who live in our communities and actually want to help and make it a better place for all of us.

Just getting people to ‘like you’ doesn’t cut it. A brand has to be seen to be involved in the community (be it local or global), going out planting trees or delivering meals to the elderly is real!

The real world is where a brand is tested. If it says on the box that it does x, y and z then it better. Apart from online forums critiquing it, it needs to be seen on the streets. Look at Toyota, their Landcruisers are seen in the bush and sand doing exactly what they say they can. You see old ones still climbing rocks and new ones driving the kids to school. They are there all around us hammering home how reliable they are.

At the same time brands need to listen to the public and if they make a mistake put their hand up truthfully and say, “Whoops we mucked up, but we can do better and this is how.” We want to see honesty in the people behind the brands. We make mistakes and for a brand to be trying new things to improve and grow we accept them to make mistakes too. It humanises what could otherwise be a cold faceless company.

It is in the real world that consumers get on board and live the brand. They become advocates by using the brand and if it stands up it will become a part of their lives. Look at the AC/DC fan who not only buys the records, but proudly wears the T-shirts and spray paints the logo on walls, he is living the brand and letting all around know it.
He is saying “I am part of this, I am a member of this club and want you to know it”, and then he gets the ultimate in brand advocacy: a tattoo of the AC/DC logo.

So go on get your brand out there, alive and kicking!