Want Branding

The Ripple Effect

We like, buy and fall in love with brands because they provide benefits.

Coke refreshes, Nike helps us win, and LinkedIn helps us to connect and cultivate our professional networks.

But where do a brand’s benefits begin and end? When do brands potentially overpromise against benefits?

And, more importantly, at what point do other factors take over?

How far is the ripple effect for a brand?

Did that refreshing Coke energize and allow you to stand up and ace your client presentation? Did your Nike compression shorts enable you to make that amazing one-handed catch in the end zone? Was LinkedIn the reason you made enough money for a down-payment for your first house?

I’ve been pondering these questions the last couple of days, having seen a new brand campaign the TSA is running for its Precheck initiative. Some quick context: “Precheck” is program that allows pre-approved travelers to use a different security line. The line moves faster in part because shoes can stay on your feet, jackets may remain on your person, and laptops and liquids don’t need to be removed from a bag. Initially, Precheck was granted to elite level status travelers, but now the program is being expanded and actively marketed to ‘regular’ travelers.

The TSA campaign shows the headline ‘Be There (at your best)’ with what appears to be a regular traveler (someone backpacking or hiking up mountains) doing their best Leonardo DiCaprio “I’m-the-king-of-the-world” pose from the Titanic movie. Is the security line so arduous (and ‘Precheck’ so beneficial and energizing) that it will enable you to climb that mountain? Does going through non-Precheck security line mean that you’ll be at your worst?

I’m all for pushing the envelope and finding emotional benefits that aid difference and distinction, but the TSA would be better served if it focused on simple functional benefits – ease and access – through security. I could potentially buy the notion that Precheck allows business trips or vacations and flights in general to start off on the right foot. Perhaps put you in the right mood to enjoy your time away.

But to suggest Precheck’s benefits extend past the outgoing airport (both outgoing and incoming) into day 1, 2 or even 10 of your vacation is a real stretch.

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