Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

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

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Tag: branding

Ryanair’s Branding Changes: My Comments in the Independent

Lewis Smith from The Independent called me a few days ago.  He wanted to know my views on the latest Ryanair saga.

Ryanair claim they are going to change the colour of their logo.  I must say my first comment to Lewis was to ask if this a follow up tactic based around the fact Ryanair had previously suggested charging for use of the toilets and giving the option of having a seat or standing space.  


We then chatted for 20+ minutes on how colours are emotional and can contribute to the perception of a brand.  I explained how some supermarkets used vivid colours to draw attention to, and denote, cheap products.   Other supermarkets like Waitrose are more subdued in their choice.  They use greens and other colours to denote freshness, value etc.  

I also mentioned how Gap had previously said they were going to change colours and backed down after critics made an issue of this on social media.      

Despite us talking for quite a while the actual content I’m quoted on is relatively small .. but it is a vital consideration.  You see the other experts that contributed were specialists and i’m a generalist.  Their specialisms were in colour psychology and brands, and each focused on the importance of their area.  

Much of what I’d discussed was confirmed by them.  But the bit that was printed was about the fact I don’t believe you can easily test the true impact of brand colour changes for one simple reason.  It never happens in isolation.  It is always part of an attempt to improve the image of a company and will be accompanied by a whole series of other changes. Things like, as in Ryanair’s case,  additional exposure in the media.  

Of course you can extrapolate from focus groups and other research but really being sure that it is the colour change and nothing but the colour change is impossible.

One last thing I discussed with Lewis was how Rolls Royce had nearly named the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow as the Silver Mist until they realised that, in German, mist means manure.  

You can read the full Ryanair article here 


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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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Brand disasters: Rover cars

Why do some brands nose dive?  When branding really fails.


Rover had been making cars since 1904 and had made a mark.  But in 1994 BMW bought Rover and many argue this was the beggining of the end.  BMW continued to innovate with technicaly good designs but slowly people decided it was dated and too retro for the late 90s.  


What was the answer for the Rover brand?

Despite winning many awards Rover’s sales slipped and the brand was described in some papers as a “living symbol of the UK motor industry’s decline”.  


By 2000 BMW had had enough and decided to break the company up.  The £2million a day losses might have helped the decision.


Brand lessons for businesses


Sometimes you have to focus on the brand and not the product.  The engineering from BMW was good .. it was the perception that was bad.


If the name doesn’t convey the right message then dump it in favour of a positive name and image.  “Triumph” might have worked better than a name that is sometimes given to a dog!


What are you doing to use your brand to succeed rather than fail?

Think about both your business brand and your personal brand.

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Business Brands: More than a Logo and Strapline

How to Rebrand Your Business: Top Rebranding Tips for Businesses Worldwide


I’ve just billed a UK nationally-recognised client for a branding project I masterminded for them.  Well actually they were a well established company that wanted to rebrand with a new name.  This project was fascinating as we went through all the questions, myths and fallacies associated with branding and rebranding.


Firstly changing your name is really dangerous.  There has to be a really good reason to do this .. don’t do it on a whim.  Some companies change their name due to the bad press and vibes associated with the old name.   Following the LIBOR, mis-selling and other scandals I can see several banks doing this quite soon.


My client wanted to change as their previous two word name was never used by their clients.  Their clients always referred to them by the first part of their name only .. so they followed their customers‘ lead and choose to be recognised by the one name.


This then meant the website needed updating as did all their paperwork (not just letterheads, they had to think invoices, etc etc .. over 80 pieces in total). Then signage needed changing .. that was in their buildingring and outside and on vehicles and .. well it was a long list..


Next came social media .. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn .. all needed changes.


Then came .. well the list was long  and they paid me well to project manage the thousands of things that needed doing.  


But they hadn’t rebranded!



What does rebranding involve?


The reality is that branding is all about how your customer perceives you.  Anita Roddick described it as the space the company occupies in the customers mind!


Branding is really about your image, how quickly you answer the phone and sort out problems (ensuring you get no customer problems, is high on the agenda here), your actual customer service, quality of product or service .. well again the list is huge and is what we have been working on with the above client.


How well does your brand hold up to scrutiny? 

Do you focus on the logo or the real features that make up the brand?

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