Advertisers should always remember the power of optimism

Likeable brands are trusted brands and in the end, brand marketing is wholly about trust, explains PwC's Russel Howcroft.

We do a lot of surveys at PwC and a recent one showed that nearly half of CEOs from around the world say the US is critical to their growth prospects, with China steady at one-third.

This is interesting because the overriding “sell” for decades now has been the importance of Asia. It remains true, but let’s not forget the ease with which we can conduct commerce with the US and, in particular, the west coast.

There is another reason to look west, and it won’t surprise the habitual visitor – the rush of optimism you get.

I was reminded of this when I had to jump on a plane recently to make a flying 48-hour visit to California, the sixth largest economy in the world. LA has four million residents and outer LA, 18.5 million. It’s the place where technology, creativity, media, education and finance converge. One massive cluster of growth. A progressive place in every way.

Credit: HBO


And it’s one flight away from the east coast of Australia – yes, it’s a long flight – but it’s only one leg. Clearly it is already a cultural driver for us, and many in the entertainment industry have worked this out.

California allows you to be Australian, to exploit Australia while living in a global hub that’s only a flight away. Wow, what an opportunity. So back to my visit – a meeting in LA with people from New York, the UK, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada and Australia. One flight for everyone, which not only made it equally inconvenient but also took away the power dynamic around one’s home town.

But what I loved the most was a visit to an advertising agency called 72andSunny, an agency created around the idea of optimism. It was created 15 years ago as the founders believed that the advertising business and its clients had forgotten about the selling power of optimism, the very idea that you are more likely to buy from a brand with a sunny disposition than one that’s overcast and grey.

Their work included the re-invention of retail advertising for Tesco and the globally recognised advertising case study for Stella Artois. It reminds me of the agency I worked at in London in the ’80s, Lowe Howard-Spink: an agency built on the idea of likeability.

It’s a simple philosophy, the idea that if you like the ad, you like the brand and you’re more likely to buy. The idea that likeable advertising creates loyalty, grows the customer base and maintains the margin. The simple idea that likeable brands are trusted brands and that in the end brand marketing is wholly about trust.

My flying visit to LA and 72andSunny reminded me that two of the business essentials are not terribly complicated: an environment that rewards progress (in this case – an entire city) and an optimistic attitude (an agency, that started in LA which now has offices in NYC, London, Sydney, Amsterdam and Shanghai).

Russel Howcroft is PwC Australia’s chief creative officer. This piece first appeared on PwC’s The Press. You can read the original here.


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