Find your edge or prepare for the fall

We don’t mean to be alarmist, but it’s a war out there. Brands are falling weekly. Profits are up in smoke. Businesses are closing their doors. It’s safe to say that the future is worryingly uncertain and we can’t placate ourselves by just blaming the economy.

We’re blasting people with over 5,000 messages a day – 4,999 of which they don’t want to see. We’re not inspiring action or building mental availability. So, the question becomes, are we doing enough? If we’re going stay standing it’s time for our brands to step up, get some edge, and fight.

In South Africa, we’re still obsessing over TV and soft-sell in a time when brands should be developing sharper elbows. The days of your warm and fuzzy, friendly-neighbourhood-super-brand are over. And it’s ok.

To make real change we need to hard-sell. No more of this holding back and being indirect with our messaging. It’s time to get real. Some brands are realising that the impact of a clever and intuitive hard-sell campaign. They can be incredibly effective. Even more so when you’re bold enough to call out the competition. 

Netflix’s cheeky “Jokes aside, no installation required” campaign got people talking, and laughing, with its honest take on the complexities of having DStv. It was a cleverly packaged full-frontal assault. 

Webafrica’s “Effing fast internet” campaign is stirring up a somewhat vanilla category with its gritty, facetious approach. They’re talking like real people to real people with real problems. It’s a great example of where edge and humanness meet. 

Let’s look a little further afield to Heinz. They’re smashing Hellman’s with the category-boosting [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise campaign, which is exponentially growing their value share. 

Burger King’s continued antics towards rival McDonald’s are pushing the boundaries of competitivemobile, and occasion-based marketing. And it’s resonating. 

Brands with edge are winning. 

If edginess is all about bite, done right, it can distinguish a brand. If done wrong, it can make a brand seem inauthentic. Having edge is about taking risks. In a fight for survival, the ones who will win are those willing try something new. It’s imperative and achievable. 

Sure, our economic climate has put us in this mess. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we’re too comfortable. This is our opportunity to change. To embrace our edge, find our voice, get competitive, and fight for consumers’ attention. 

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