I can’t move this week for the outrage aimed at Gary Barlow. Again.
The last breathtaking tirade of venom targeted at this amiable Cheshire chap was when the songwriter committed the heinous crime of suffering from a spot of writer’s block. The media and celebrity world saw fit to abuse and ridicule young Gary (he was in his early 20s) for failing to build on his early success, and for putting on a few pounds in the process.
This time he is seen as fair game because his accountant advised him to buy investment products to reduce his (enormous) tax bill, just like many hundreds of other people whose accountants gave them similar advice.
Fortunately, despite the best efforts of the country’s politicians and media, I predict that Gary Barlow will emerge unscathed from this gust of media wind due to the presence of two branding principles.
Firstly, the strength of Brand Barlow.
Brand Barlow (& Owen and Donald) works like any other successful brand, from Apple to Persil. Profile, preference and advocacy have been accumulated over many years of consistent brand delivery and outstanding customer experiences.
One of the many benefits of this brand strength is the provision of ‘air cover’ when things go wrong. Customers forgive you, because they know that people (and companies) make mistakes. Whether you are Toyota recalling cars with faulty pedals or Coca Cola getting their recipes in a twist, strong brands pick themselves up and carry on doing what they do best, in this case entertaining the masses and giving joy and cash (oh, the irony) to the less fortunate.
Secondly, Brand Barlow will emerge strongly from this episode due to the weakness of his assailants.
If you wish to criticise other brands make sure you do so from a position of perceived strength. When Virgin took their gloves off in the ring with British Airways they knew that the customer believed the bearded one was on their side.
However, to say that Brand Barlow’s critics (politicians and media) have preference and advocacy issues themselves is something of an understatement. Expenses, phone tapping, anyone?
Mark my words, Brand Barlow will be flying high for many years to come.
If you need some advice with your branding and strategy please feel free to get in contact with us at Mimo.