Welcome to the second blog of »Horse Feed«. Today he is going to speak up for the first time: Willi, the seahorse. My freshly won favorite brand and the main character in this story about brand and communication. Yes, my favorite brand is starting to communicate and introduces itself to you. The project thus has a name, and that’s usually where it all starts. There is a very individual story behind every name – it never hurts to know it …
So simple, isn’t it?
Time to learn
Look, like he stands there, with his notebook, taking pictures with his phone, the tourist. Pah. The sponsor, the self-proclaimed brand expert. I am his brand, he said, so he needs pictures of me. As many as possible, from umpteen perspectives.
Yeah, godfather, just do it. BUT: for the time being you work for me. You can be my voice, my right hand if you do well. And then maybe we’ll see further.
By the way, the right hand-thing would be quite good, because I am already using my tail so that I can hold on due to the lack of arms. I can use help – but where and how, I’ll let you know. If I want.
Yes, do I want or do I don’t want to? Do I want to speak? I want. As I said, I’m just not able to. Because I am behind glass, surrounded by mud-green H2O, which is supposed to emulate my natural habitat. Smooth 10 to 18 degrees celsius. Those learn, who spend their lives in such a world and yet want to satisfy curiosity or thirst for knowledge enthusiastically. Automatically. And I have time to learn because my world is in itself a very small one.
I am a seahorse. And seahorses generally don’t speak. Certainly not about brands. We are also neither brands nor horses. We are not even good listeners, without ears. We are actually fish. Fish only.
Brand communication is strange.
If you do it right.
First step to branding
Seahorses usually don’t have a sponsor either. Or even a name. It is an extraordinary relationship that is developing here. Indeed.
It is all the more important that I am honest from the start and come back to the name: Willi, bugger me, is he crazy?! Willi …
That with the name, that’s a human thing, right? As soon as something is new in your life, you give the child a name. You brand it, says the godfather. Are you serious?
Okay, f**k the name. What is needed here is not a name. In order to bring a community, a team forward, to promote it successfully and valued, two things are needed: charity and balls. That teaches my evolution. The balls thing has had a smack anyway since November 2003, when a world-famous goalkeeper said that Bavarian soccer teams need balls to win a football game in the Ruhr area.
How do I know that? Seriously guys, the visitors who don’t use smartphones to google in front of my window like to leave their magazines and newspapers. And by the way, I can read, because I just can do it. And I’m interested in soccer, by the way, because I’m just interested. Well, and in extreme emergencies I ask this godfather person for answers…
How it comes to names
So where were we? Oh, by the balls. So it takes balls to communicate charity. A big mouth like mine certainly can’t hurt.
Now the godfather charmingly calls me »Horse Feed«. I am called Willi only because »Horse Feed« is not a recognized name, but Willi is. So it is in the normal world, some brands have real names, some abbreviations, others have fancy names and still others have no names. Anything better than having a non-recognized name … apparently … So I have a real name and a pet name. A real one, which the German old comedy star Heinz Erhardt has already worn … it was apparently funny … but that was just 50-60 years ago.
Back then, Walt Disney was funny too. He is also no longer alive, but is still funny today. For example, »Finding Nemo«, says the godfather, is a great movie. Ha, the godfather is watching animation films for children. Freak.
The godfather quotes a clownfish. It’s childish! To quote a fish that can now be found more on primary school pencil cases than in its natural environment… The clownfish has already developed into a star, a premium brand, and is actually making lot of money. Swims in a kind of VIP reef landscape even here in my neighborhood in the zoo. While I just have my already described 1000 liters of water, and that’s it.
You fall in love with a brand because it’s remarkable.
Because it stands out through evolution
instead of revolution.
Storytelling or ambush marketing?
Yes, I know, it is enough to swim for an hour.
I, rather my genus, would have played in »Finding Nemo«, says the godfather, but I shouldn’t be surprised that many didn’t notice it because the seahorse generally didn’t speak much. Only once would father seahorse have spoken to baby seahorse, his name is Egon (in the German translation). Egon is a motivator, courageous leader. He is the first to swim across the reeftop, cheekily hold up the mirror to others to motivate them to perform at their best, be outbid and end up being frugal with the last place, because he prefers to know everyone in the game and the competition doesn’t matter to him seems to be. Criticism hits him. Well, and someone obviously gave him the name Egon.
Incidentally, his father’s name is Knut and he is proud of his baby. Knut, a much stranger name. Every zoo animal know in the meantime. I associate the name with zoo marketing revolution: the first polar bear social media PR campaign, and the first animal that has had thousands of followers and fans, although most of them never saw him live.
The name Knut stands for the start of good storytelling from the zoo and is therefore not a good name for »his project«, says the godfather. He doesn’t copy, he says.
And Egon? »Hardly anyone is called that today, it was popular in the early 1930s. So that sounds »old school«, says the godfather. A bit out of date, you know?
Briefly to the sticking point which initially comes from a dialogue out of the German copy of »Finding Nemo« which I translate analogous: In the Disney movie, in any case, seahorse Knut wants to approve of the clownfish Marvin, who has just brought his son to school for the first time and has to let him pull to the reef edge alone with teacher and classmates. »You are holding up quite well for the first time, Marvin,« says seahorse to clownfish when he learns that the whole class is swimming to the brink. »Calm down,« Knut calls after the panicked Marvin. Then Marvin turns around and counters: »Don’t tell me about calm down, ****«. And he used not a kind word at all… I will use »Horse Feed« instead of. Makes it easier to follow the english story.
However, this scene is funny. But, such kind of nasty words in a children’s movie? My godfather says that what makes a child’s film amusing and funny can only do good in real life. So we have the »Horse Feed« thing. And he’s already taking pictures again.
Knut and Egon became Willi – and »Horse Feed« is from this time on my nickname. If it were an insult, it would not be part of a children’s film, my namesake says. This is also called ambush marketing … I call him professional idiot!
A hero needs a name
Why do I like to provoke the godfather sometimes? Guys, listen, you call me horse feed, make children laugh at it and because that’s not enough for you: you kill us for medical purposes. Yes, that’s the end of children’s party, now it’s about facts that are not on the blackboard next to my aquarium or are neglected by any debate about my name: According to NIO estimates, around 20 million seahorses are traded illegally every year. The largest secret exporter is India with 1.3 million animals per year. One kilo – around 100 of us – for example in the USA, with its large Chinese community, costs up to 150 euros. This is pretty anti-social, to put it bluntly.
Otherwise you take pictures of us because you think we are cute. Because it has even become rare for you to meet us at all. Honestly, what do you want?
Have you ever realized that a seahorse is not only cute, but also an award? Why else do (at least) Germans attach to us as one of your first heroic medals of life: swim for 25 meters, jump from the edge of the pool and dive a bit in shoulder-deep water? For children, these are the real exploits – and we express these exploits as a badge. By the way, a little side note: In Austria, the little heroes sew my friend, the penguin, on – must be due to the water temperatures in the cold mountain lakes. Penguins are also weird birds. Can’t fly and still fascinate the masses.
Well, nature made us fish, as a horse. It hasn’t even given us eyelids – and yet should I close my eyes now when it comes to being mocked, ridiculed, sold and eaten?
No one is like the other
Sorry, I had to get rid of that on my own behalf. Where was I actually? Oh, on the balls theme: As we have said, it is customary for us seahorses that the men carry the eggs. The first marriage is particularly widespread among our genus, that is, even if the children are born, I will stay with my wife. Only in exceptional situations I turn to a new female. On the other hand, I’ve heard that you humans make such exceptional situations the rule, among other things …
Anyway, what I’m getting at is that it doesn’t hurt to have values and principles – and balls, of course.
The core lies deeper. It is not always immediately obvious just because you know the name of a being. You have to immerse yourself in this world to understand it. Otherwise every Willi would be like the other. Over water and under water. And now put an end to the brand and identity chatter. Godfather, you’re the one who wants to make a brand out of a horse feed. His name is Willi … Anyway, thanks to you, this child finally has a name. And that’s how everything starts in your world, right?
The brand has a name. This is how the cycle begins … We all like to identify what we like and appreciate. That’s why we usually name it based on role models, idols or feelings. From the moment we have named a person, thing or project, we start to raise awareness of it on a regular basis. An important step to make a Love Brand out of it. Love Brand is our heart’s business. The things that drive us, that we make our own – and that go beyond economic benefits. Everyone has matters of the heart that they like to take care of and that are at the core of a brand.
Food For Thoughts