A branding and marketing lesson from the Jeremy Clarkson fiasco

Now, you’ll have been living under a rock if you didn’t know what’s been going on with the latest ‘Clarkson versus BBC’ fiasco. It’s been everywhere. And as with a lot of news stories like this there’s something we can all learn when putting it all into the context of our own business.

The big branding and marketing lesson is this.

Like him or loathe him, you know all about Jeremy Clarkson. My mum, in her early 60s, is in the hate camp. Everything about him makes her get into a bit of an angry state. My sister on the other hand, loves him and all that is Top Gear. The classic marmite effect. (That’s one of the best consumer focused marketing campaigns I think there’s been in recent times…one of the best Marmite videos is here.)

And that’s the point. Jezza doesn’t care. He’s always vocal. He’s become increasingly childish / offensive / controversial / cheeky (delete, depending upon your leanings). He sticks to his guns and his principles (even if you don’t agree with them). And he’s consistent. That’s him. Whether you like him or not.

bedifferent_eggsSo, when it comes to considering your brand and your marketing.

  • Do you know what your brand stands for?
  • Do you consider doing something a little different from the rest?
  • Do you get out there and communicate with your audience (existing and prospective)?
  • Are you consistent in what you say and how you say it?
  • Are you afraid of upsetting / alienating / not being relevant to some?

The last of these is important. Many marketing campaigns blend into one and aren’t memorable. This is for many reasons. But sometimes it’s down to the fact that a brand fears saying something it feels it shouldn’t.

It’s okay not to be liked (by everyone).

If you’re a Top Gear fan you’ll have read speculation of who might take over on the show. One of the prime candidates appears to be Chris Evans. When asked whether he would be interested, he referenced a statistic from his time in research…

“In TV or radio, if you get a 50:50 love:hate reaction that usually equals massive hit.”

Having that in back of your mind is useful. Not everyone is going to like you or what you have to offer, either as much as you’d want them to or when compared to one of your competitors. That’s okay. We’re all free to make our own choices and have our own preferences.

But by standing out from your competition, standing for something, and being consistent in that message. Now that’s powerful. That’s effective branding and marketing. And it ought to make those people who do like you, really like you? That’s worth a lot more than you might think. 

(Which is why companies are falling over themselves to sign Jezza up!)