Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Tag: brand

Brands Issues at Ahamay

Businesses Can Spend Millions on Their Brand; But It Can Soon Fall Apart.


We all know brands are important, especially to big business.  But you can spend millions building a brand only to find that things go wrong.

Take for example Ahamay.  They are known internationally for everything from music to motors.  

Have you heard of them?  Is it a brand you are familiar with?

Ahamay were flying the corporate flag in Portugal when I was there recently.  

The only problem was I didn’t recognise them as a huge international brand because they had made one very simple mistake with their branding.


You see their flag was printed so that the writing could be read from either side of the flag – lined flags are much more expensive, so they have gone for the cheap option.

Amahay are in fact Yahama … but only on one side of their flags!.  As Yahama they are well recognised.  But as Amahay no one really recognises them .. and if they do they laugh.


In marketing we need to look at every situation from various perspectives.  How we see it may not be the same as how someone else sees it.   

We’ve all made mistakes in marketing, certainly I have.  The trick is to spot them before everyone else does.

Finally let me tell you about a succinct strapline that was pointed out to me recently. The competitor of one of my clients were offering the chance to “learn business from the inside”.  By this they meant they were providing the opportunities to work in a business and learn from the experience.   My client liked the concept until I pointed out that the phrase could be perceived in an unintended way.  Being inside means to be in prison, so some people may think this is a training course for people being detained at Her Majesties pleasure (for my non English readers being detained at Her Majesties pleasure means to be in prison until such time as Her Majesty, the Queen, decides you can leave!).

Sometimes our straplines, headlines etc can be read in several ways.

When Lewis Smith from The independent interviewed me recently I reminded him how Rolls Royce allegedly nearly had a similar problem with their choice of words.  In the 1960s they were going to name one model the Silver Mist.  Eventually they choose Silver Shadow as “mist” in German means manure. 

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The AA Brand Says It All When Your Car Breaks Down

Five Stars Results on Google Search

What Does Your Brand Mean?

How Can A Brand Make People Keep Coming Back?


My car recently broke down.  The last time this happened was nearly ten years ago and I was left at the side of the road, on a busy motorway, a long way from home.   It made me break out in a cold sweat.  Breaking down on the motorway isn’t safe.


When I broke down this time I was at the seaside and perfectly safe.  But I was still miles form home and I still felt uncomfortable and realised that by public transport I was 5-6 hours from home (it was Sunday and I needed to get to the main road to catch an infrequent bus to get to a rail station and then take another infrequent bus …… aghhh). 


 Problem Solved

But no problem, Sharon and I are in the AA.  We sat in the car, looking at the waves breaking on the beach, and phoned the AA to explain our problem.  Half an hour later I had a call from a technician to say he was just 10 minutes away and would soon be there. 

He arrived on time and 10 minutes later had solved the problem.  The immobiliser had killed my starter motor and he rebooted my car by locking and unlocking my car!  It reminded me of techies that, when my computer packs up, always say turn off your machine and restart it.

This may not sound like marketing because it isn’t about an advert, doesn’t use a website, an app or social media.  But this is marketing in its purest form.  It is about satisfying customer need.


How did I feel?

Problem solved and I felt happy and safe.

So what does the AA brand mean to me?  It means “happy and safe”.

The AA team were there when I needed help and that’s how I see them .. really helpful people.

It didn’t actually matter how long it took to get to me .. they keep in touch by phone and keep you updated. 

The previous time they couldn’t restart my car (the engine had blown up due to a broken cam belt) but they took me and my car to my home.  I was safe.


Your Brand

It’s unlikely that you repair cars and provide a relay service but think about how your customers feel when they come to you.  What feelings do they have and how do they want to feel.  Are they stressed by having to make a decision on colour, model etc?  Are they confused by the range of options?

What can you do to make your customers life easier?  To allay their negative thoughts and fears?  To get them in a state like mine, where i was happy and felt safe?


Your brand is what people think about you, it is about how you make them feel.

So building your brand isn’t about a logo …. it is about how your business makes people feel.  So make them feel good and you grow your brand.

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Mr Kipling’s Branding Secrets: Silently Speaking to Your Customers

Mr Kipling's Exceedingly Good Advert
Click to Enlarge

One branding secret that always stands out in my mind is how brands can “Speak Silently to Their Customers”.  Forget conventional sponsorship and other brand promoting ideas, go for guerrilla marketing techniques like Mr Kipling did.


I’m often asked if businesses should sponsor a local roundabout or similar.  My reply is always the same .. Why would you want to do that? 

The answer I’m invariably given is that it is to raise the profile of the business.  In return for a cash payment to pay for the upkeep of the roundabout teh sponsor gets to put a very small sponsors sign on the roundabout.  It is often sold on the basis of the number of cars passing and “doing your bit” for the local community.  

Sorry guys.. it doesn’t really work like that.  For every driver that feels good about the roundabout many more will feel negative as they are in a traffic jam (and that then transfers to your brand) .. or, like me, wonder why you have so much money that you are doing this when you should be doing other things like improving customer service.  This afternoon I saw a sponsored roundabout and the sponsor was a local college .. my thought was why do this with tax payers money when you should be using it to teach people?  I didn’t feel good about the college .. I felt negative.


Guerilla Branding Tactics; Making sponsorship work for your brand

The above photo was taken on the same day as I saw the college roundabout sponsorship.  But it really works for me.

In the UK we’ve all seen the Mr Kipling adverts on TV and know that the enigmatic Mr Kipling “makes exceedingly good cakes”   .. the ads started in about 1976 so if you do it says something about your age!


The brand however was designed to encapsulate everything the brand stands for, and to personify what is good about the company – its vision, its values and insistence on quality.  Mr Kipling doesn’t actually exist as a person .. only as a brand creators idea.  But he has existed in the hearts and minds of cake lovers for years and years.


Back to the roundabout.  The photos was taken on the outskirts of Rugby, UK, where the company that makes MR Kipling, Manor Bakeries are to be found.  Not only do they have silver wording about Mr

Kipling embossed on the roundabout; they also have Mr Kipling cakes as part of the horticultural theme.


As I drove around the roundabout my first thoughts were that Mr Kipling “makes exceedingly good cakes” .. I guess that is what a brand has to do …. occupy your customers’ mind with positive thoughts!


How does your brand occupy your customers’ thoughts?

What positive brand messages are you giving out?





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