I had a client who had no experience in brand communications.

But instead of pretending to be in the know, he was honest about it.

Which was why we really hit it off.

I like to use human analogy to explain brand communications.

Because that was how I learned about the industry when I started out, fresh from my legal studies.

Anything that was explained in ad books or by my ex-bosses, I would re-explain to myself in simpler terms to make it easier for me to relate to.

And that was what my client got from me.

Here’s how I explained to him about brand positioning.

Whenever we think of a brand, think of it as a human being.

For example, when someone mentions Dunhill, we see a man in suit and tie.

If it’s Marlboro, we see a rough, tough, outdoorsy cowboy.

Both brands selling the same product, but totally different from each other.

That led to me explaining how important it is to have core targets in your communication.

If Dunhill or Marlboro wanted to appeal to everyone, we may end up seeing a man in suit and tie, wearing cowboy hat and boots, in ‘pelikat’ sarong (just to add some local touch).

But they never did any of that, they stuck to the image they had because they were focused.

Then I asked him to guess why I used cigarette brands as examples and he couldn’t answer.

I told him to take a look at both of us.

The discussions we had were almost always over teh tarik, while smoking Dunhill and Marlboro, my client in his business shirt and loosened tie and me in my T-shirt and jeans.

And I said to him, “If I had used cigarette brands as an example to someone who doesn’t smoke or has no interest in the topic, he wouldn’t be able to get it straight away like you did”.

“Now that’s knowing your target well, and communicating in his lingo,” I continued.

Communications is not complicated, unless people make it so.

Sometimes to confuse, sometimes to show they’re smarter than most.

But always wasting other people’s time.

I refuse to waste my time or my clients’.

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