Recently a UK leggings brand called Kukubird gained some notoriety over the local news/internet in Singapore. If you’ve ever lived in Southeast Asia and you’re familiar with the local argot, or if you understand Cantonese, you’re probably already laughing. If you didn’t, well. “Kuku” is part of the Cantonese slang term for male genitalia, and in Southeast Asia, “kukubird” is slang for the same thing. Fun thing for a brand to start trending for, isn’t it? The thing is, I don’t even blame the UK brand/the agency that branded them, though they probably should’ve checked Urbandictionary.
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This is probably not how the leggings brand wanted to gain traction in Asia. After the news broke, there was some slight attempt at damage control:
— Sebastian Su (@Sebastian_su) August 16, 2019
TBH, we really doubt they picked the branding on purpose knowing what it meant. After all, local slang aside, Cantonese is spoken by 60 million people in China alone. That’s more than the total population of Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia combined. We recommend that they rebrand, but that’s just us. In any case, terrible and avoidable branding accidents aside, it is possible to gain traction quickly for your brand.
How to Build
A contemporary, consistent brand suite will definitely help to bring your brand together around consistent visuals and consistent messaging. Having a strong brand will help you put your best foot forward in a likely crowded marketplace. Word of advice here – use a pro. Don’t do the in-house thing with Comic Sans and dropshadow – not unless you know what you’re doing.
Where to Build
Building a brand is about building a consistent strategy that grants your brand increased visibility with the right audience, while driving this audience toward a certain goal. More purchases? More donations? More people asking for quotes or going to a place? Whatever your goal is, here are some of the usual touchpoints where brand visibility is built:
- TV: Television is not a dead medium, despite what you’ve heard: but a national TV campaign will be expensive.
- Digital Presence: Having a website is necessary. Having social media depends on your brand, though we recommend it. Responsiveness is key.
- Digital Campaign: Influencers, ads, Google AdWords? Nowadays, you might need to pony up if you want a visible online presence.
- Print: It may suit your brand to run print ads in both traditional mediums (like newspapers and direct mail drops) or something news.
- Outdoor: Billboards? Bus stop shelters? Blanket Southern Cross Station with advertising for a week? All these can be ways of raising awareness for your brand.
- Installations, Pop Ups, Hand-outs: All great ways to push certain kinds of products – esp FMCGs.
- PR: Sponsored content and other forms of PR can be key to pushing new products.
- Other: Publicity stunts, guerilla advertising and more.
Building Your Brand Quickly by Breaking the Bank
In a perfect universe, if you do have a huge war chest to spend on marketing and advertising, it’s easier to build your brand quickly online and offline. Film a great ad. Add someone like Keanu Reeves, or some equivalent A-lister with the capacity to make the things they star in quickly go viral. Carpet bomb your target audience with localised advertising across online and offline touchpoints. Buy a Superbowl ad. Buy product placement in a Marvel film. Pre-roll your ad in the expensive just-before-the-film bracket for blockbusters. Have a funny brand activation in real life. Buy sponsored content in the news. Hire celebrity influencers. Buy out Adwords on Google for your industry and for your rival brands. Do PR, get reviews on magazines related to your brand. The list goes on.
Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect universe, and the morning news reminds me of this every day. If you can’t do all of the above, but you still have a huge war chest, spending it on carefully considered media designed to appeal to your audience does work. A well-known example is the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” series, which reputedly had a media spend in the millions but which rapidly went viral, becoming one of the fastest-growing video campaigns of all time and revamping the brand in users’ eyes.
Old Spice already did enjoy some viral success with its earlier ads involving Terry Crews and weird CGI, but with the Isaiah series above, the brand took off. Viral success is, however, a matter of luck — rather than creating campaigns that are so-called “made for viral”, it’s better to have an intriguing concept AND a good strategy behind it. If the ad goes viral in a way that doesn’t advance your KPIs… it might not have gone viral in a good way.
Going Viral in a Bad Way?
Oh, you’ve seen it. #KimOhNo is only the latest. We have so many stories. Basically, be careful about what you say in your advertising and how you show it. And always be respectful. It’s not a question of being PC (God, we hate that term), it’s good business. If you piss off people so much that your competitors’ brands get a lot of free traffic and advertising from angry people, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
No Money? No problem… Sort of
What if you don’t have the money? A smaller budget means having to be more tactical about strategy. Or you could just get lucky. One of the more eye-catching launches of last year was the Lion’s Share, which had none other than Sir David Attenborough himself, who reportedly offered to be part of the campaign:
With the ad by Clemenger Melbourne BBDO, the concept behind the Lion’s Share came from a “eureka” moment for the founder. Via Mumbrella:
Late last year, Christopher Nelius was watching TV when he had something of a eureka moment – and promptly rushed into his colleague Robert Galluzzo’s office to get it off his chest. Animals, he explained, don’t get paid to appear in ads. And in a world where up to 10,000 species are facing extinction every year, with precious little funding to stop it, those appearance fees could be a life-saving revenue stream. “I think you’re onto something,” agreed Galluzzo.
Nelius and Galluzzo helm Sydney-based production company Finch and after a few days’ thought, settled on the proposal that 0.5% of all media spend from campaigns staring animals should be donated to help conservation causes. The pair told friends and then friends of friends in the industry until Andrew Clarke, then global CMO of Mars, promised the confectionary giant would back their proposal but only if they could persuade the United Nations to get involved. “So I wrote to this guy at the UN,” says Galluzzo, talking in a giddy rush on the phone, “and told him I’ve got this idea that will change the world. But I need one hour in person with them.”
And then things went a bit Hollywood. Incredibly, the UN emailed back. Could the pair come to New York next week to pitch it, they asked? They hopped on a plane, made their case, it got approved and then things moved quicker then they could scarcely believe. They were invited to Cannes. The Economist signed up. Clemenger BBDO Melbourne helped turn it into a proper campaign. And then Sir David Attenborough offered to be the frontman. Fast-forward to the end of 2018, and the campaign is already lining up to purchase land, including a jaguar corridor in Belize; Elephant paths in Kenya; and orangutan and tiger habitats in Sumatra.
A great ad doesn’t have to be expensive. One of Nike’s most famous ads is pretty much just a guy jogging down a road:
Or even this New York Times ad:
But those were already extremely well-known brands, you might be saying. Is there an example of cheap TV done effectively for a new or lesser-known brand? Yes there is: Mount Pearl, a tiny Canadian town, recently released an ad that went quickly viral, as it was a hilarious and slightly unscripted rap video:
Lower budget? Completely improvised? That’s when things start getting difficult. We’d say it’d require a very particular sort of product, and it’d very likely need humour, like in this viral cat shelter video shot over 30 minutes that had adoption inquiries jump by 25% after it went viral:
There was also that whole ice bucket challenge thing… remember that? So, yes. If you’re tactical about messaging, approach, and strategy, you can still have a winner on your hands. Some things are definitely easier to market than others – given a choice between making an ad for a cat shelter or an ad for computer cables I’d know what I’ll pick (NOTE: if you do need an ad for computer cables, we are completely happy to work with you).
Some Quick Tips For Building Your Brand
- Have your KPIs in mind (key goals).
- Decide on a budget.
- Have a target audience.
- Think about which platforms are likely to work for your audience.
Want to know more? Or are you a leggings company that might be looking for a new brand name? Get in touch.