Thursday, 18 February 2016

Putting Brands in their place

The number of 'Ps' in marketing seems to expand each year from the original 4 that I learned - Product, Price, Place, Promotion. Place, rather like Price, never got that much discussion in advertising-related meetings, as I think that there are a lot of unwritten assumptions about 'Place' as far as brands go.

A retail brand will assume that the stores are The Place, household products will orientate themselves to The Home. But think about how both stores and homes are changing in relation to physical place. I'm not convinced that a brand necessarily has a fixed place in space.

I was interested to see a promotion from Burger King in New Zealand, 'Backyard Burger King.' The idea is that Burger King will be giving away 50 Backyard Burger King kits like the one pictured above, so that you can enjoy the flame-grilled taste in your own backyard with your mates.

And that's the clever thing. It's stressing what sets Burger King apart - not that it's a takeaway, or fast food, or a hamburger chain, but that it is a flame-grilled burger that you can enjoy anywhere.

Other examples include the Blockhouse chain of steakhouses here in Germany, who sell their products - dressings, dips, burgers, steak pepper - through the grocery trade, so you can enjoy Blockhouse food (if not the whole experience) at home. Or Pret a Manger who publish their sandwich recipes on their packaging. There is a generosity about this approach, rather than a misguided possessiveness about 'not giving any secrets away.' In fact, this all makes so much sense if you think about it, as takeaways (rather than eat-ins) lose the control of the brand the moment the customer leaves the restaurant. If they want to eat their Whopper cold two days later with added pomegranate, that has always been their prerogative.

In these days of online and offline merging, and not being two distinct states or modes of operation, it makes sense to reduce the rigidity of a brand's definition of 'Place.'

In what new or unexpected context could your brand be made available to emphasise its uniqueness?

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