The key to a great brand? Turn some people off.

ryanair_logoIt sounds ridiculous, but great brands should say to a segment of the population “you’re not for me”. Recently Ryanair was in the news for telling off a blogger who thought he had tricked Ryanair’s website into giving him free flights. Whether you agree or disagree with Ryanair’s reaction, one thing stands out – they took a brand position (cheeky and ruthlessly cheap) and stuck with it – and you have to admire that. Now I am told that Ryanair is famous for less-than-stellar customer service, but can you argue with their growth? British Airways’ traffic was down 8% in February, yet Ryanair’s was up 7%. It doesn’t sound like their controversial stance is deterring many prospective passengers.

Is the Skittles brand broken?

skittlesBy now you’ve probably heard all about the new Skittles.com web site, which makes use of social media sites such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Facebook. Good for them, and a great way to save on web development by allowing anyone in the 2.0 realm to contribute. But what is this telling people about the Skittles brand? “We’re the every person brand?” or “We’re the 2.0 brand?” I’m not quite sure.

If you check out their Facebook page, you’ll see that they have over 500,000 friends. And their Wikipedia page is impressively robust. So they’re not all wrong by going this route. But I have to be honest, looking at Skittles on Wikipedia doesn’t really make me crave them.

And isn’t that what the folks at Skittles should want?