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Brand is the emotional connection a company has with its customers, making the emotionally-charged Mother’s Day holiday like a plant food that can either create a bed of roses or a garden of Venus flytraps. It all has to do with balance. Do you want your message to move merchandise, building your business in the short-term, or do you want to strengthen the connection with your customers, building your business in the long term?

This question is important for everyone to ask whether it’s Mother’s day or just another Monday in May. Both are possible.

Don’t get me wrong, sales are crucial! There’s no sense in building a strong brand if you go bankrupt in the process. Like everything, however, it’s all about balance.

Getting back to Mother’s Day now, I’m going to use some samples from a great review of Mother’s Day ads did last year, looking at them though through a brand strategy lens now.

This question is important for everyone to ask whether it’s Mother’s day
or just another Monday in May.

Most brands fall into the trap of recycling the same clichés and stereotypes year after year. Why? Because it’s easy and it works — at least for short-term sales. That’s fine, but there might be missed opportunities to unearth, opportunities to move merch and build bonds with customers at the same time.

A perfect example is Teleflora’s “#OneToughMother” campaign that reminds us all that “Motherhood isn’t always hearts and roses. Mother’s Day can be.” That’s brilliant, and not just for the short-term impact it can have on sales. Connecting with mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons on this very real level, will help make Teleflora the first go-to source in the future. Once there, the brand will still compete on quality and price, but at least they had the first opportunity to do so!

JetBlue’s “Fly Babies” doesn’t even try to sell anything on the spot, which, granted, is a harder proposition for an airline than a florist. In this JetBlue promotion, a plane full of cross-country travelers were rewarded every time a baby cried, reminding us all that it’s no picnic for the parents either. It was different, it was honest, and it evokes a sense of understanding, that the airline gets us and our experiences as passengers. It did not try to drive on the spot sales, i.e., “Go see your mother for cryin’ out loud!” or “20% off gift certificates for Mom.” What it did do was make it likely that more people would choose JetBlue in the future if all other factors are relatively equal.

Moving beyond Mother’s Day now: whenever you’re faced as a marketer to generate leads, move product, or otherwise help the bottom line, take a step back to see if there’s a way you can help the brand in the process.

If you get stuck with this challenge sometime, consider scheduling a Brand Out with us. We’d be happy to try to help.

— Douglas Spencer

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