Monday, September 16, 2013

3 Take-Away Branding Tips from Breaking Bad

Note: If you don't watch the show or aren't caught up I don't recommend reading this post due to possible spoilers and fan-boy nonsense. Yes, I am a Breaking Bad fan-boy.

Breaking Bad has some great marketing going on in its fictitious little world. I'm a little late with this post but the branding and marketing tips that were present in last week's episode To'hajiilee were fantastic and worthy of a call out... even if it is a week late.

It actually looks like this blog beat me to the punch with this post idea. Read their take here: 

On to my take...

The Blue Meth

"It's our brand" insists Lydia as she pushes for higher quality and customer satisfaction. She knows that she may even be able to push through a lesser quality if they can maintain the look that Walt created because that is what the customers are expecting.

I was at a Halloween party last year and there was a guy dressed as Walt's alter-ego Heisenberg and as recognizable as that outfit was, it was the baggy with 'blue meth' hard candy that really sold the costume. With that little detail there wasn't any doubt as to who he was. The genius here is that it isn't even a real product and we all know it so well.

The blue color Lydia is referring to is absolutely their brand.

Saul Goodman and The Car Wash

There are two very memorable slogans from Breaking Bad that are both mentioned in this episode. The first is "Have an A1 Day!" which is from the Car Wash cover business that Skyler runs with/for Walt. When Walt Jr. forgets she reminds him that saying the slogan reinforces their brand. Again this about maintaining consistency even if the slogan or branding isn't all that great....

...which is where A1A unfortunately fails in my book because their already weak slogan is different than their even weaker marketing message "You've tried the rest, now try the best." Ugh. Could you be any more cliche? I have a huge problem with any marketing message that claims that some product is 'the best'. You're immediately challenging the customer to find reasons that you're product isn't the best. Not a good move in my opinion.

Be truthful, be consistent. Be like Saul, he's not trying to be anything he's not.

Tips and Take-Aways

#1. Maintain brand consistency and deliver to your customer's expectations. It's what your customers know. There are plenty of history lessons to look at where companies changed their brand drastically (ahem, Coke) and they paid a price. It is worth it to push on this.... even against a group of violent skinheads!

#2. Once you finally nail that great slogan, logo or even colors that work for you then be consistent and use them whenever possible. Respect your choices. Even if they aren't that great in the grand scheme of things they will become the identity of your brand and your customers will come to expect that. Remember how changing their famous logo worked out for Tropicana?

#3. Have a clear value proposition. What are you selling? Saul is selling himself as a sleazy lawyer and it works. His slogan is also a call to action and he uses it over and over. He even stays on brand when he says to Walt Jr. "Don't drink and drive but if you do, you better call me". A1A Car Wash has some clear branding issues but at least you know that you're probably going to come out with a clean car when things are all said and done and the hero product, the blue meth makes the subtle promise that it's not quite like anything else on the market. Deliver on your promises and you'll build loyalty.

Until next time...

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