I don't want a conversation with you

Written by Oliver Budworth


Trainers, or sneakers, as they’re often known, are another life–long obsession of mine. For as long as I can recall, they’ve been a source of irrational fascination. 

In 1990, when I was eleven years old, Nike Air had just launched in the UK, and I remember being totally fascinated by these amazing trainers with an air bubble. So much so that I saved every penny of my birthday money and nagged my parents to let me go and spend it on a pair of them. 

I was beyond excited, and while I can never claim to have been the most popular kid in school, for a brief moment I relished the attention the trainers I wore to and from school brought. 

In life, no matter what we may believe, many of the decisions we make are irrational  

While I think my desire for Nike Air was fuelled by my natural instinct to want anything shiny and new, it did cement my love for brands at a very young age. Although I didn’t theoretically stay loyal to Nike growing up (I also bought Reebok Pump, Puma Disc and Adidas Torsion during this time, too), any trainer that wasn’t a brand I liked was instantly dismissed no matter how tempting its technical claims. 

Call my decision-making process irrational, because guess what, it was, and to this day, for many things I buy, or want to buy, it still is! 

Last year, Les Binet and Peter Field published research that analysed ten years’ worth of B2B marketing. If you work in the industry and your job is to sell to people (in any capacity), then you need to read it, understand it and apply it to everything you’re doing today; from how you’re apportioning budget, to how you’re planning marketing activity. 

While there are many fascinating charts, two in particular stand out:  

Brand building vs sales activation 

The first shows the power of brand building, which is and always will be a long-term activity, but one that, if invested in, creates growth way beyond that of activation (think on-off campaigns you run all year). 

The second chart I love is this: 

Fame, is the name of the game 

This chart shows that campaigns that are specifically designed to create fame for a brand outperform other campaigns on all business metrics. In addition, emotional campaigns also perform better in almost all metrics, particularly in the long term. 

What this research doesn’t say is that you should stop doing the marketing you’re doing today, but what it absolutely does reinforce is the need for every business – no matter what that business sells – to ensure brand is front and centre of every conversation. 

 But remember; when it comes to brand it’s not just what you say, it’s what you do that matters… 

When I was eleven, I wasn’t really exposed to much advertising. The internet didn’t exist, there was no YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat and there were four channels on television. So, influence over what I liked wasn’t what it is today. But I was into NFL – the Miami Dolphins to be precise. That might sound random but American Football was big in the UK back then (and still is today), and I believe my fascination for Nike came by association of the fact they were the primary sponsor for the team. 

 My love for Nike didn’t begin with a clever ad, it came from the brand doing what it’s always done – associating itself with amazing athletes and sports. 

 So next time you’re questioning what your business should be doing, remember that whilst the short-term results from brand activity might be slow, if you get it right (you’re consistent, and consistently good) the long-term effects of brand on your business will far exceed that of any short-term sales promotion. 



You might also like