Yesterday was World AIDS Day. Held on December 1st of every year, it is an opportunity for people across the globe to unite in the ongoing fight against AIDS. As part of the campaign, there was a concert held in Times Square last night headlined by the seminal rock band, U2. More accurately, it was headlined by a slightly different band called “U2 Minus One.”
On November 16, the lead singer of U2, Bono, suffered a cycling accident while riding through Central Park. The injuries were severe enough to prevent him from performing with the group last night. Given their stature on the global music and activism stage, it shouldn’t be surprising that the band had some stellar fill-in singers in Chris Martin (Coldplay) and Bruce Springsteen.
How does this all tie in to branding? Instead of performing as “U2” and needing to explain the need for different singers, they publicly performed at “U2 Minus One.” It’s a subtle, but very important change. By performing under a slightly different name, they preserved the brand of U2 while still delivering a high amount of value to their audience.
When you establish a brand, people have certain emotions and expectations tied to it. By performing as “U2 Minus One,” the expectations were different than if they had performed as U2 with different singers.
As a brand, it’s important to understand and recognize that clients have expectations based on past performance. By continuing to deliver what the audience has grown to expect, and adjusting it when necessary, you won’t dilute your brand – even if a key member of your team is involved in a “high energy bicycle accident.”