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 


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.