Branding. The icon, the logo, the style, the constant look, the feel, the colours, the message, yes all of these things represent and form a brand.
Russell Brand shares the name and has done an amazing job of creating the Brand ‘brand’ as it were. He has had quite a life thus far. Born in Essex, his parents split up when he was only six months old. It has not been easy from him and he ended up getting involved with drugs. He has had a very colourful upbringing and has done well to keep most of his faculties intact.
Branding and Russell Brand have one thing in common – they both stand out as individual and memorable. Brand has a distinctive look and style about him and he plays this perfectly. It is clearly comfortable for him and he hides any demons well.
A brand has to be built over time. It has to be nurtured and emphasised at any given opportunity. Using PR and advertising is crucial to maintaining a brand and Russell has done this expertly. Having made it through his difficult childhood he has created a flamboyant, Bohemian caricature of himself with enormous popularity, particularly amongst young people. This type of brand development is not easy – it takes time and a lot of effort.
Any brand needs to be well thought out and have a strategy for development. This is crucial in forming a brand and building it. It takes expertise and hard thinking. Russell Brand has evolved over many years as a very likeable character who is very funny and has an inextinguishable turn of phrase. His strong, and often, controversial opinions carry favour and fervour with many. He can split opinion in one sentence and cause serious offence in the next. This is the Russell ‘Brand’. He carries an almost ‘Jesusesque’ quality about him – standing up for the poor and desperate, as he himself once was, which is admirable to many though cynics will quickly tell you Jesus never had riches of his own.
He recently advised his millions of Twitter followers to vote labour in the general election. He must have been unaware that to be able to vote people had to register with their local council. Many millions of his followers were previously told voting was a waste of pencil lead so the confusion amongst them leading up to the election must have been palpable.
Of course now the Conservative party has won an overall majority, wiping out the Labour party in the process, he is now telling people he is just a comedian, and what does he know, as clearly the country has a difference of opinion to him. Hey Ho Russell.
So the Russel Brand ‘brand’ has taken a little hit, as do commercial brands, but his loyal army of followers and fans will remain mostly intact and that is down to his brand strength. That is something we all need to learn about how branding works. Even when a business service goes wrong or a product is found to be faulty it is still possible to recover and maintain the brand strength overall. As long as it has been built up carefully and you retain customer loyalty it is much easier to keep a market base happy and put right any mistakes that come along.
Russell Brand learnt that during the general election and we can all learn something from that.