Stick a rainbow on me, I’m done… The value in brand hijacks.

With Pride 2017 hitting London in full-colour this month, our feeds were inundated with brand hijacks and all manner of posts sporting flags, rainbows and #PrideInLondon. We could never argue that vast amounts of support for the LGBTQ community is a bad thing, but it does beg the question… do these brands sincerely care, or did someone in the marketing team say, “Do you know what kind’ve Instagram engagement we could get with #gay?”. We take a look at the importance of strategic campaigns versus shallow brand hijacks.

When brand hijacks are a good idea

Strategic brands

Whatever the channel, whatever the department, whatever the outcome, a brand needs to operate under a strategic platform for why it exists. Not what, but why. Any brand in any sector can tell you what it does. This means it can also be done by your competitors, who if you’re in the tech industries, are likely to catch you up pretty goddam quickly. This poses problems all the way from competitors undercutting each other for the best price, all the way to having to rethink you entire brand communications if what you do or sell in the future changes.

When a brand is built around why it exists, you allow customers to not just buy a product but join a meaningful cause that they too are passionate about. The value exchange isn’t just about price, but the beliefs, actions and impact of your brand. When 75% of millennials care about brands that give something back to society and over 70% of Brits across all socio-economic groups will spend more money if a brand is built on ethical beliefs and operations, it’s wise to consider brand significance and how to create profit with purpose (If you’d like to hear more eloquent words on strategic brand building, Simon Sinek has you covered in his Ted talk, Start With Why).

Authenticity & credibility

We bring all this up because talking the talk isn’t enough… Brands need to follow through. In a world of fake news and distrust in the media, a tweet saying you care about an issue just ain’t gunna cut it. We need to see authenticity, action and a real impact for a brand to make a meaningful impression. And so we come to London Pride 2017. Will all brands who associated themselves with Pride icons and rainbows have benefited from the desired, meaningful positive sentiment in backing a worthy cause? Maybe. Will all the brands who put their logo in rainbow colours for the day be remembered? Absolutely not.

For a more strategic move, we look to the wonderful Ben And Jerry’s. It’s a brand that has actually done something (many times) to support a purpose or social issue it believes in, NOT just for financial gains. A prime example of this happened last May, when Ben & Jerry’s refused to sell ‘same-scoop’ ice cream orders in Australia, in protest of Australia’s Marriage Act, which refuses to recognise same-sex marriages.

Brand hijacks with Ben & Jerry's

When to say yes to brand hijacks

So now we’re all set on what good brand hijacks look like, we leave you with two questions to ask yourself and ensure your brand looks genuine and sincere…

  • What is your brand strategy and does the hijack opportunity align with this?
  • What are you actually going to do?

Got any opinions you want to share? Fancy making a new friend on Twitter? You’ll find us here @ManifestLDN. Peace out.

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