Brand bonfires: a source of comfort and community
Getting a brand’s bonfire started takes longer than setting off a few fireworks.
You’ve got to build it right, by basing it on a core product, purpose or promise that will stand the test of time. But once lit, brand bonfires take less time, effort and money than brand fireworks to keep them going.
Take KitKat as an example. Aside from questions over it shrinking (something levelled at many chocolate bars) and a change to the material used in its packaging, it has remained much same since the middle of the last century.
And – importantly – so has the brand’s proposition, ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat’, which has been in place since 1957.
Another example is Guinness. While the brand’s strapline has changed over time (from ‘Guinness for strength’’, through the magnificent ’Good things come to those who wait’, to today’s ‘Made of more’) those changes tend to take place at a glacial pace.
And behind the great ads, the product itself remains iconic and constant. (Ever seen Guinness crowing about their stout’s new improved recipe? No? Thought not!)
People attracted to a brand’s bonfire become gently mesmerised by the flickering flames. They stay for as long as the fire burns brightly, and offers the comfort and feeling of belonging that they seek.
(Where a bonfire brand exists, you’re likely to find a strong and loyal tribe.)
So, bonfires win, yeah?!
It’s not quite that simple. As in real life, even if you’ve got a brilliant bonfire burning, a few fireworks will add some extra fizz and wow. But they should be the extra thing, not the thing your brand relies on.
Guinness again provides a good example. Alongside the bonfire of their core draught stout, they set off fireworks in the form of novel products such as Hophouse 13 lager and Guinness 0.0.
So, build your bonfire in the right way to ensure the right people see it, relate to it, choose to gather round, and know that it will be there every time they return.
But don’t forget the fireworks!
Everyone wants warmth, but we all want a bit of entertainment too.