Let me mess with your mind for a quick second. If I were to say, “I’m Loving It”, could you control your brain enough to not have some part of it instantly think of McDonalds? Chances are the answer is no. Why? Because you’ve been exposed to the fast food chain’s current marketing campaign so many times you probably can’t hear that phrase without associating it with the restaurant. (Not to mention the “bah-dah-dah-dah-dah” jingle).
I’ll admit it. When the new slogan came out, I thought it would bust. I didn’t see the connection. But just like a catchy pop song you can’t stand, with enough repetition comes acceptance and eventually instant brand recollection. (How much did Justin Timberlake get paid? Which came first? The single or the jingle?) Regardless, from this point forward, no matter what I’m talking about…If I say “I’m Lovin’ It” part of our brain belongs to MickeyD’s.
Just do it. Verb. Eat fresh. Verb. Taste the Rainbow. Verb. You know all of these brands by heart. And the tie-ins are limitless. McDonald’s can ask you, “What are you lovin’ right now?”. From skateboarding to salsa dancing – no matter what your passion is – if you’re loving it, it can be tied into McDonalds because they own “loving it”. Now don’t you want that for your brand? Then it’s time to Own The Verb.
Case in point: NIKE+. Now, I’m not a runner. I’m not even one of those who claims they should be a runner in their Twitter bio (which seems to be a popular choice.) But when I do go for a jog, I use the NIKE+ app on my iPhone. It’s fantastic. Dare I say, the app itself even motivates me to go running. I like to see my stats and try to beat them. I like to see the ticker count up my total miles like I’m watching the MDA Telethon’s ticker display the amount of donations. When I go for my occasional run am I wearing NIKE shoes? It doesn’t matter because when I share my run on Facebook, my friends see the NIKE brand name regardless of my shoe selection. That’s a powerful marketing tool! Talk about owning a verb. When you go to to nikeplus.com the first thing you see at the top of their page is the Swoosh and the verb Run. They’re synonymous.
A quick second example. Nissan was losing sales and market share until 2002. What happened then? They switched their marketing campaign from an adjective (Driven) to a verb (Shift_) What followed was 8 years of sales increases and a renewed brand.
Of course, if your product/service or the application that connects me to it, isn’t desired – your verb will be left in the dust. But with the addition of the ability to share your actions on Facebook and it’s 800,000,000 users, owning a verb has become a necessity. With the LIKE button being phased out, new apps are letting you share what you are reading, wearing, hearing, etc. So don’t sell your brand short. If you’re trying to connect your brand to an audience and you’re not attempting to own a verb, you’re limiting your opportunities. So, pick an action and associate your brand with it! Or you can always have it your way.