Learn How To Craft Your Brand Message Like Kony 2012
Written on the 12 March 2012 by by Amy Wallin, Journalist
Journalist Amy Wallin, caught up with Brand Strategist, Rachel Quilty at Jump the Q to discuss the branding insights and lessons entrepreneurs and corporations could learn from the biggest news this year with the Kony 2012 campaign.
This past week you may have been visually assaulted with Kony 2012. One morning you woke to find Kony 2012 everywhere, all over Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. It was on the radio, the newspapers and the television. By now everyone knows the story: Joseph Kony is the leader of the rebel group: LRA, who kidnaps children in Northern Uganda and Congo in central Africa to join his army or to become sex slaves or worse. His atrocities rank him number one on the World’s Worst Criminals list.
Rachel Quilty, branding expert at Jump the Q confirms Jason Russell, the mastermind behind the Kony 2012 brand, has checked all the points off in creating the perfect brand message. Her book, ‘Brand Yourself’, lists the ideal checklist on how to craft such your brand message using the key elements of: specialisation, leadership, attributes, distinctiveness, visibility, consistent and relationship building.
So how has Kony 2012 crafted their message and what branding lessons can we learn from the Kony 2012 campaign keeping these elements in mind?
Specialisation: is about determining your niche or in the case of Kony 2012, micro niche. Selecting one person Kony has kept it is short, simple and to the point, similar to the Obama ’08 or Kevin ’07 political campaigns. It also highlights the message that 2012 will be the year where everyone will know Kony and this will be the year everything changes for Kony.
The movie, now a YouTube video sensation now with over 72 million views ( Watch video below) puts a face to the campaign, Jason highlights in straightforward terms, why the need is strong and action is necessary, everyone has their role to play. His message is simple, this is not a complex problem this is simply one man who must be stopped.Jason Russell has cleverly given the public a deadline to achieve his goal.
Leadership: is about positioning your brand as an Authority. Although Jason isn’t the focus of the campaign, his leadership is clear with the mass movement he has created in Kony’s name. The empathy he has caused the world to feel in regard to the invisible children is immense. The information he shared with everyone, all the while relating each violent act back to his own son, brought the message home.
Attributes: is about the core values of the person or brand and how well they are conveyed in the brand message. His key message is that we would not accept these practices in our cities, with our children, why would we elsewhere. Jason challenges us to show ‘love and mercy’, also the name of his charity and to take empathetic action and support his cause.
Distinctiveness: is an important ingredient to ensure your message stands out. The campaign has, like all brilliant branding campaigns, consists of distinctive brand attributes, colours and/or brand images. There are hundreds of charities and many support the same cause as Kony. But Kony 2012 is quite a distinct in that is focuses not on the outcome but on the cause – one man.
The psychology of colours chosen is effective also: red and black which represents anger and death, represents the enemy who must be stopped. Supporters are encouraged to participate, take action, to go and show love and mercy. The colours surrounding the supporters are green which in psychological terms indicates to act and growth, empathy. The stark red and black posters, the images of deformed children and the glaring face of Joseph Kony himself, also guarantees the images will stay in the mind of the public.
On the 20th of April, Jason has urged all his viewers to paper the country in Kony 2012 posters, so that the next morning Kony’s face will be everywhere and he will remain world news. The campaign is running only for a limited time, due to the 2012 deadline, which will ensure a large scale change in a short amount of time, keeping the message in the news with new methods that fulfil the dramatic and visual and material tastes of the target market.
Visibility and Consistence: are the most important elements of branding. If you are not seen, how can your campaign or brand be successful?
In one fell swoop, Kony 2012 took over the social media, the key element in creating a message with enormous reach is to be consistently visable. With a brand name bigger than most, the campaign was extensive, as can be seen from the film on YouTube. There were protests, graffiti artists and very emotional school visits and talks. However it wasn’t until the movie and the social media got involved that Australia and the rest of the world found out. Twitter and Facebook are posting updates and links to the YouTube channels and an interactive website. The media caught on and now there are radio conversations, news stories and articles in the paper. This brand message is simple, consistently expressed and very visible. It’s everywhere and it’s working.
Awareness, donations and support for the campaign is rising every minute. Updates are hourly instead of daily or weekly.
Relationship building: is a significant feature in building brand awareness and the best endorsement your brand or campaign can gain is word of mouth or sharing of information or in social media terms, going viral. The traction Kony 2012 has established is due to the emotional connection the public feel. The haunting images and all brand marketing strategies adopted carry the same depth of feeling.
The generation Y audience relate to a strong cause and especially to social media and has been significant in creating brand awareness and a massive wave of support. The target market, gen Y, are fans of change. They frequent social media the main channel elected to drive this campaign and they are responding from a desire to help, to initiate the biggest change of all, the world.
One of the quick ways to gain credibility is a celebrity endorsement. Kony 2012 is building and maintaining relationships with the public gaining support from key players in the fight for change. Kony 2012 aimed to have twenty culture makers, such as celebrities, sport stars and billionaires endorse the product, gain more publicity and subsequently influence the twelve targeted policy makers that have the power to make a difference. Social proof such as testimonies and endorsements of a-list celebrities such as; Oprah, Angelina Jolie and George Clooney helps leverage your brand dramatically.
Kony 2012 has made the policy makers available on a personal level, so the public can have direct communication, to see the difference they can make as an individual as well as an organisation. Jason states exactly what is going to happen with the campaign the action kits, the movement and what your funds are doing to help. People feel like they are an integral part of the fight against Joseph Kony.
Kony 2012, target their market with stunning accuracy, it was a small brand that grew to an empire in a short amount of time. Learning how to craft your brand and create a message that will stick is made easier with Jump the Q’s Brand Yourself Action Plan for personal and business branding. Check out branding expert, Rachel Quilty’s, Brand Yourself book available in all good bookstores, to get you started on your own branding quest, or order your copy online and have it rushed immediately to your office go to http://www.brandyourselfbook.com
Jump the Q! And Brand Yourself! Your personal brand should reflect your abilities and potential. Rachel Quilty, Personal Brand Strategist, known as ‘the Authority’ on personal branding and author of must- have book ‘Brand Yourself’. Go to http://www.JumptheQ.com.au for FREE strategic branding tips. Rachel encourages Jump the Q clients to think strategically when developing a personal brand to get that job offer, gain that promotion or win that client.
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