Two Way Branding & Bananas

So what do bananas have to do with branding? We now live in a world where the back story to our brands is as important as the one constructed by the PR people and the marketing team.

Branding is a 2 way process and anyone in the branding foodchain can tell their story quite easily. There is also a huge amount of business in selling bananas. According to this list of banana facts

“Banana is the most popular fruit in the world – people spend over $25 billion a year on the fruit globally.”

Now that online media is ubiquitous we can be sure that questions will be asked and / or that other stories about our brands will become known especially online. I like this project because it is an example of two growing trends in the branding universe.

  1.  The old tactics of legal strong-arming (overly agressive PR) and related activities will become part of the story. Online everyone has some influence. Bananas have a long history in fair trade circles and while new routes to market have been successful most of the banana crop still comes via large companies so there is a lot at stake.
  2.  Kickstarter allows project founders a clever way to publicise and productise their projects. Kickstarter as a brand has created a groundswell of community funding behind causes because the platform makes it easy to get involved. Being online makes it much easier for a few hundred people pledging anything from $5 to way more to participate and make projects happen. From a branding perspective this also helps to validate the project and ideas behind it.*

The video clip below comes from the Kickstarter project to complete a documentary on bananas.  As the film maker Fredrik Gertten notes

“It all started with my previous film BANANAS!* which recounts the lawsuit that 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers brought against the Dole Food Company, the largest fruit corporation in the world.

When the film was about to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Dole tried to stop it at all cost, claiming the documentary was “fraudulent” – although they hadn’t even seen it. Dole’s law firm sent us a “cease and desist” letter demanding of us to withdraw the film and close its website, or we would get sued. “

A 4m video clip about the project is below. The project will only be funded if at least $15,000 is pledged by Mon Mar 12, 3:50AM NZDT and as of today 13% away. I’ve backed this project as I have watched earlier work by Gertten and so I’m hoping that the doco reaches its target.

Kickstarter is a peer funding project that seems particularly suited for film projects and many documentaries have now been funded in the past 2 years.

* Imagine you have a new widget for the toy market like this Elevation Dock: The Best Dock For iPhone which closed on Feb 12th with $1,4m in funding from 12,521 BACKERS $1,464,706 pledged of a $75,000 GOAL so massively oversubscribed and the product developers have a backlog of actual prepaid orders in this example.

The economics of making more than 10,000 of the docks will certainly help that business scale up and build a great brand.

Update: Feb 25th. Looks like the doco above will get funded and here is another Kickstarter project with a NZ angle that you might like. Just funded with a goal of $90k.
BOY: the American release!Narrative Film project in Los Angeles, CA by Taika Waititi

1,483 BACKERS $92,020 PLEDGED OF $90,000 GOAL with 6 days to go.
To find New Zealand related projects on Kickstarter the best search is New+Zealand http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/search?term=New+Zealand