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The Five Elements of Fame

Fame

Fame? As in celebrities, Hollywood, and gossip magazines? 

Yes. But for brands. 

But isn’t that just “Brand Awareness”?

No. Think of Fame as top-of-mind-awareness plus buzz-worthiness plus high social status. 

Again, you can think of brand fame very much as you would for a celebrity; the same factors that separate an A-lister from a C-lister separate true brand fame from brand awareness.

As Peter Field, the godfather of marketing accountability, has written:

“Fame is not simply about generating brand awareness (which turns out to have limited value for most established brands). It is about building word-of-mouth advocacy for the brand — getting it talked about, creating authority for the brand and the sense that it is making most of the running in the category.”

-Peter Field, Marketing in the Era of Accountability 

OK, but why is fame important? Why should a B2B or Home Services Business care about fame?

Because the experts on marketing effectiveness (such as Peter Field) have determined that Fame is the most important element for producing extraordinary ROI from branding campaigns. 

Alright, then. So how do I create fame for my brand? 

You have to engage in a long-term branding campaign that achieves these five factors*:

1. Connection 

Think of this as likability and bonding. Ads that create Fame will establish an emotional connection between the brand and the public. 

2. Differentiation & Distinctiveness

Famous brands are unmistakably recognizable as themselves. Ads that create fame break through the background clutter and cause the brand to stand out.

And to the extent possible, these ads will also dramatize any substantive advantages (USPs) provided by the brand over competitors.  

3. Buzz and Gossip Worthiness 

Famous brands get talked about by the public, and copied, or at least responded to, by competitors. Ads that create fame inevitably employ the kind of schtick that gets tongues wagging — humor, catchphrases, brandable chunks, ear-wormy jingles, etc. 

4. Familiarity 

Ideally, you want your audience to not only feel like they know your brand, but to feel like they’ve known you for quite some time. Ads that create fame not only create a connection with the audience, they keep that connection alive over time to foster a sense of reassuring familiarity to the brand.

5. Universal Meaning

If a prospective customer mentions your brand, their friends ought to be able to say “Oh, the ____ guys.”  

Or “Oh, the company with the ____ ads, right?”  

That’s universal meaning. The brand isn’t just familiar to the prospect, but to the customer’s entire social circle as well. Everyone in the community knows the meaning behind the brand. 

So which of those 5 elements are the most important?

The last element is the most important. 

Universal meaning comes pretty close to encapsulating fame. 

You can’t be famous to just one person, right? 

You have to be famous within a community of people. The larger the community, the greater your fame. 

The next-to-last element is the second-most important. 

Familiarity represents a bonding connection maintained over time, even if it’s limited to a smaller audience and hasn’t yet become universal to the entire market.

In this sense, Distinctiveness, Differentiation, and Buzz could be seen as just tools for establishing and accelerating connection, familiarity and universal meaning. 

So there you have it: The 5 Elements of Fame. 

Treat ‘em like a checklist. 

Is your branding campaign accomplishing these objectives for your brand? 

Do your ads:

  1. Foster connection?
  2. Render your brand distinctive and differentiated from competitors?
  3. Get people talking?
  4. Foster a sense of familiarity with your prospects?
  5. Create universal recognition and meaning among the public?

If the answer is yes, keep on trucking! You’ve got a bright future.

If the answer is no to one or more of these, it might be time to get yourself a new branding consultant. 

*P.S. The listed Fame Factors are loosely based on ITV’s Values of Fame research and metrics