Sunday, February 26, 2006

Brand sharing

I took the yellow tornado for a walk today and got to thinking about successful brands that share their brand equity with outside brands/people/initiatives to further 1) the brand and 2) a larger purpose. I'm going to call this brand sharing. This term is different from the way we say, "brand market share" or "brand share of voice." It's not related (directly) to measurement. The brand sharing I'm talking about is more about the sharing. With others.

Some examples would include cause marketing partnerships, philanthropic endeavors and collaborations with other brands and people. All resulting in something bigger than the brand itself.

Well, I got all excited about this idea when I got home and read WOMMA's blog and saw another great example of BMW's brand share. We all remember the BMW short films (and their subsequent accolades, popularity, imitation). BMW has paired with Random House to produce BMW Audiobooks - short stories by some contemporary writers featuring a BMW car in the plot. Not only is this a great way to tell the brand story, but it's a cue that BMW is aware - and acting upon - its changing customer: drivers interested in podcasting, expecting mp3 player hook ups in their dashboards, commute-savvy.

Love the idea and appreciate the way the BMW brand is interacting with its brand loyalists - as well as establishing an innovative literary presence.

Another example of brand sharing is from one of my favorite bands (and now brands) Death Cab for Cutie. The emo-pop band launched
Directions: 11 short films cued to its "Plans" album tracks. One film per week can be accessed on DCFC's Web site. The directors are amazing, as are the songs, but the truly great part of this "direction" is Death Cab's willingness to share its brand to benefit the larger artistic value of their and others' talents. It solidifies the band's own artistic talent and positions the band among a tight circle of artists - an aspirational brand. Sidenote: check out the two-minute trailer and band explanation. This week's film is paired with one of the sweetest love songs ever: I Will Follow You into the Dark. The film is amazingly simple, with a powerful three-part storyline.
I'll keep my eyes open for additional examples of brand sharing. Check back with Death Cab's Directions series - the films leading up to this week's have all been great.


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