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Marketing today is tactical. Jumping onto a trend or coming up with the next gimmick to grab attention for a few seconds. We can’t fault it — if it’s well-produced and timed correctly, it works — it puts your brand in front of people and may even produce enough traction to generate sales.

Comedy, however, remains a brand building exercise. It allows us to poke fun at ourselves and engage with very human emotions. It allows brands to connect with their audience and encourage conversation, because if a brand (the ultimate symbol of building and maintaining a reputation) can laugh at themselves and the boxes they are pushed into (or try to own), then why can’t we do the same?

In this two-part post series, we took a few points from our podcast with Donovan Goliath and delved a little deeper into something that butters our bread – how to build a brand. Donovan and his partners were not only able to start a movement that followed them wherever they went, but they were also able to take comedy into one of the most premium retail spaces in South Africa — it’s a brand-building crash course, really. 

Three steps to a strong brand

Think of a brand that you trust — one that you engage with on a frequent basis and choose over all others that are presented to you.

Why do you choose that brand? Your choice may be based on price, quality, or a long-standing relationship (maybe this is the brand your parents bought?). In most cases, it’s a long-standing relationship, built over years and hundreds (maybe thousands) of interactions.

The fact that you choose the same brand, every time, without a second thought is the value of brand building. By intentionally designing each step of your brand interaction you are able to create a consistent experience and build trust with customers. When it comes time to make a decision it’s easy to choose a brand you trust.

It seems like a simple task — standardise interactions to create consistency and build trust. This is the essence of how enduring brands are built. They’ve mastered the art of building meaningful, long-term relationships, and in some cases, their reputation extends beyond their stated ‘market’.

So how do you build a strong brand on a budget? By understanding your market, delivering on their needs, and doing so consistently. Goliath and Goliath set out the perfect example for hitting these three markers:

Start by understanding your market
For the Goliaths, stand-up comedy had a following, but only a few places were offering comedians the opportunity to get up and perform. This made it difficult for up-and-comers to get time on stage.

Once you understand your market, find a need and answer it
Seeing as spots to get up on stage were limited, especially for beginners, the Goliath’s started AWEdnesday. It gave them more opportunity to perform and opened the market up to other comedians — beginner or otherwise.

Found the need? Now deliver consistent brand experiences
Goliath and Goliath had found the need that they were going to answer, and somewhere to host, now they needed to deliver consistency (this consistency became even more important as their location changed). The answers to consistency were a photo wall (it was a thing), a DJ after every show, and an event every Wednesday.

A fourth marker, if you will — have a great brand story
Donovan’s story of how he found his way into comedy, how he met Jason and Nicholas, and how they’ve built Goliath and Goliath is as interesting as it is entertaining. In any interview, in any interaction, a brand story gives you talkability and a reason for people to relate and get behind your brand.

After leveraging those pillars, they made sure to maximise their exposure — putting their brand in the right hands, ensuring it would be seen.

What resulted was a loyal following for Goliath and Goliath. So loyal, in fact, that their audience followed them from venue to venue, no matter where they set up.

It seems like a simple recipe, but we’re not seeing enough of it. We’re seeing more brands vying for attention, trying to find the next trend or gimmick to get themselves noticed. The problem here is that trends, though they may be (at times) cheap and effective, do not offer any form of consistency, and a lack of consistency fails to inspire trust.

Understanding your brand

To create consistency, you need to understand your brand. Where it fits, how it’s perceived, how it behaves, and later on in your journey, how far it can stretch.

A great place to start is to think about your brand purpose. Your brand purpose can guide your business, shape internal culture, and help define your customer. When starting out, this can be the guiding light you need to ensure you stay on track — if you’ve ever owned a business, been the custodian of a brand, or taken ownership of a large project in an organisation, you’ll know that there are a million things to do, but there are certain non-negotiables that have to be met.

Realising a purpose, be it business, brand, or project, helps keep focus on your non-negotiables and ensures you deliver on what’s most important.

In the case of understanding your brand, narrowing your focus will help you build for what you need and communicate in the right way, thus creating something different or highly specialised that speaks to a core market (further than just your over-supportive parents).

By narrowing your focus, you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from competitors and solidify your position in the minds of your audience.

When they started out, Goliath and Goliath couldn’t find enough spaces for up and coming comedians to get regular time on stage. Finding more slots to perform became their core focus.

By starting AWEdnesday and creating a space for themselves (and others) to perform they connected with a core market of comedians and loyal followers that attended their gigs week in and week out, no matter how many times their venue changed.

Adding a picture wall and DJ to their offering helped them further differentiate themselves. If you were a loyal follower of AWEdnesday, you knew that there was going to be more than just comedy, and this was a little bit more than anyone else was offering.

By entering a new market with fresh perspectives, the courage to try something new, and the gumption to build smart and stick with it, the Goliath’s were able to build a loyal following and a strong base from which to expand and explore new markets.

In the second part of this two-part post series, we’ll be looking at how Goliath and Goliath started to grow by understanding their clients and delivering value in multiple ways.

You’ve found the need and know how you’re going to answer it. We can help you build your empire. Chat to us.

You can listen to Episode 7 of OneMoreQuestion, here: 

You can subscribe to OneMoreQuestion on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Pocket Casts.

We’re new at this podcasting thing and we would (genuinely) love your feedback. Tell us what you thought of our podcast and this article – did you love it, did it make you feel tingly inside, or do we need to go back to the drawing board?

Leave a comment or send us a message.

The Nicework Team

References: Frontify, Jeremy Choi, Pentagram, OneMoreQuestion

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