We are in Cannes, on the French Riviera, walking on the famous Boulevard de la Croisette. We decided to come here for a few days for the annual Lions Awards. A good opportunity to meet up with our global network of marketing professionals.
“Hey, isn’t that Marc Capra?” I say, “there, walking just in front of us.” We met Marc a few years ago in Bangkok where he was the chairman of an international agency. Then we somehow lost track of him. “Monsieur Capra!” I say, tapping him on the shoulder.
“I moved from Asia back to New York,” Marc tells us, “ready for a new challenge. I asked myself where I would like to live next. The country that first popped into my mind was Brazil. So I moved to São Paulo and started enjoying my new life.”
“But one question intrigued me,” Marc continues, “why does Brazil have this positive image? And was this image widely recognised? As you know, I have spent almost all my professional life working with brands. So I started considering Brazil as a brand. Why do people around the world have such a positive brand perception?”
We start walking again and pass in front of the Carlton Hotel.
“I read a survey in Forbes magazine about the happiest cities in the world,” Maarten says, “and Rio de Janeiro was number one.”
“I know,” Marc says. “Brazil is associated with natural beauty, charm, sensuality and the energy of its beach culture. The perfect attributes for a lifestyle brand.”
Marc stops walking and turns to us. “Then it struck me,” he says, “why not create a lifestyle brand, using Rio de Janeiro’s positive image? It’s a perfect example of building a brand outside-in.”
“Smart thinking,” I say. “Some brands fight great battles to get the brand perception aligned with the brand identity. Starting with the positive perception and then adapting the brand identity to it makes sense.”
“Exactly!” Marc says. “So together with some friends I created a new lifestyle brand: Sol de Janeiro. We shared a fair amount of nostalgia for the glory days of the Bossa Nova period when Brazil captured the world’s attention with its cool beach lifestyle.”
He continues: “We had our brand, now we had to find a matching product.”
“Let me guess,” I say, “Sol de Janeiro… it evokes Rio de Janeiro with its carnival… maybe a caipirinha-based energy drink?”
“No,” Maarten says, “Sol de Janeiro means January sun, so it has to be a product that has to do with the beach… Is it beachwear?”
Marc laughs. “Beachwear could be one of the future brand extensions. In a country that was idolised around the world for the sensuality and charm of its beach culture, there was no sun protection brand that lived up to the dream of the Brazilian beach,” he says, waving his arm in the direction of the French Riviera beach.
We start strolling towards the Palais des Festivals, where the next seminar will start in 20 minutes. “So we assembled a team of cosmetic and productdevelopmentexperts,”Marccontinues,“andcreatedhighlysensorialsun protection based on natural Brazilian ingredients.”
We reach the red carpet where the film stars arrive for the Cannes Film Festival. Marc walks up three steps and turns to us again. “We launched Sol de Janeiro in Brazil last year and this year the brand is making its entrance on the international stage,” Marc says while impersonating a celebrity. “No pictures, please!”
We laugh and applaud. “Marc, instead of attending the next seminar, why don’t we have lunch in the sun at the Mocca, across the street? We can brainstorm some possible brand extensions for Sol de Janeiro.”
Marc looks over his shoulder at the Palais and then towards the Mocca. “What an excellent idea. Right in the spirit of the brand!”
© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
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