Smoking Hot

Smoking Hot

Mark Natale
Mark Natale

Is Your Brand Strategy On FYRE?

A few years back, there was a rollicking ruckus around the Fyre Festival and the subsequent Netflix film documenting the ill-conceived event planning of Billy McFarland and his team. The damage done was physical, mental, and probably even spiritual for many eventgoers. If you have not seen the documentary at this point, carve out two hours of your time and watch it. It's eye-opening and serves as an example on the don'ts of brand strategy.

‍While your businesses' day-to-day activities may not be remotely related to the fiasco mentioned above, you should pause and ask if any parts of your brand are currently on fyre. At its core, the Fyre Festival was a brand failure, where the leadership only focused on the initial messaging and creativity, not the whole brand experience or event management.

In this gap, many brands fail—the gap between expectations and experience. You have to pull the brand thread through from start to finish. How would the attendees experience their accommodations at Fyre differently than at other top events? How would Fyre transport attendees in a remarkable, branded way? What food would Fyre serve and how?

Yes – these are logistics questions, but if you are focused on building a strong brand identity, you have to ask yourself, "how would our brand provide these logistics most memorably?" That is where the brand rubber meets the road.

The development of the entire brand experience separates the professionals from the amateurs. I know that it is challenging to control and account for all variables, but if you are serious about building a world-class brand, you have to do this work and plan for contingencies. The stakes are too high not to.

Think it through.

Plan for the best scenario.

Plan for the worst scenario.

Control people's expectations.

Communicate throughout the brand awareness strategy.‍

Think about how your experience will be different from your competitors. Will it be better? If not, go back to the drawing board and start again. Are there notoriously unpleasant variables? If so, can you change them at all? Can you make your customer aware of them beforehand? Do what you can to flip the script and let your client know you care.

Otherwise, your brand may be on Fyre.

The proper focus from the outset of a project means the difference between getting it right vs. getting it done. Most can get it done, but is that what you set out to do?
Mark Natale
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