The PR and branding team of Thailand tourism board last year had kicked off successfully what the mainstream communications experts or brand gurus may consider a ‘brand suicide’ campaign. The team, created the controversial, ‘I Hate Thailand’, they are well prepared to be responsible for any unfavorable outcome. To them, it is either to wait for bad press to pile up like a mountain or take the risk to create a spark in the media world. This spark came to be a surprising success, and a great job to Thailand Tourism Board!
With the million of worldwide views on Youtube and many viral word of mouth marketing among people, the brand awareness of Thailand tourism increases tremendously.
Unbranding the brand is a highly risky move but just like any high risk investment, it will also come with high amount of benefits.
It can bring back life for the brand like phoenix rising from the ashes. It can induce curiosity among the consumers on social media. People are always curious, they would want to find out how come the tourism board wants to self inflict on its brand. The third benefit for unbranding is that it can and will generate tons of media press and writes-ups in either a positive, negative or an argumentative way. (Depending on how kind and generous the journalists are.)
From my own observation and biased opinions, here are some tips to do a successful ‘unbranding’.
- Do it if you have no choice
Unbranding the brand is never a good decision for any branding communication strategists. Hence, use it only if it is your last resort.
- Do it if you have the guts!!
Unbranding is often the one way ticket branding strategy. It is either a success or a failure. Therefore, think and make calculated risk before you make the decision to launch your unbranding campaign.
- Bring people to an emotional rollercoaster ride
If you want your consumers to feel down, let them feel down. And if you want them to feel excited, let them feel very excited.
- Don’t Leave People Hanging (Complete Your Story)
The ‘I Hate Thailand’ campaign started with showcasing something negative about travelling in the country. And then bits of positive side of the experience begin to unravel. And then finally, it ended with a good feeling on the brand message.
- Make it Short and Simple!!
As the saying goes, keep it simple. Make the story short and easy to remember. Today, consumers’ attention level online is pretty short, therefore we need to let them understand our brand message in the shortest and simplest way.
In summary, here are my three golden words for you, if you ever thinking of creating or emulating another “I Hate Thailand” PR branding campaign for your brand. The three words are simply “Life Is Short!”
It will be up to you to decide which version of these words you feel it is. Whether it is “life is short so don’t take the risk” or “life is short so let’s take the risk!” Perhaps we are able to see another successful “unbranding” campaign in the near future, don’t we?