Before I start, I’m the son of a Military Officer, so I have been immersed in the values and resonance of the Poppy Appeal ever since I could walk. I’ve marched as part of the Scouts, shot a rifle to mark the minute’s silence when in the Cadets and stood at the Cenotaph on Whitehall to pay my respects every Remembrance Sunday for the last five years.
I know why we all wear poppies, I know that it is vitally important to mark each year and yet this was the first year I really thought about the appeal in the context of a brand – a brand I believe to be the most valuable in the world. Here’s why.
The Poppy Appeal has no competitor
How many brands can truly say they have no competitor? Even heavyweight brands such as Microsoft, Coca Cola and Nike have competitors, yet the Poppy Appeal dominates charitable activity on and around Remembrance Day.
The poppy is the one graphical identity for the brand
How many brands are able to say that they have one singular graphical identity that encompasses everything to which the brand stands for?
Millions of people in the UK wear a poppy for two weeks of the year
How many brands have the power to make millions of people buy and then proudly wear the same accessory as everyone else? No brand in the world has that kind of power. The poppy offers the very opposite to the exclusivity that most brands wish to communicate: a poppy that doesn’t have a RRP – requiring only a ‘donation’ is more desirable.
It has the value that all marketeers aspire to have; unquestioned importance
Every brand owner believes his or her brand is of critical importance to a consumer’s life. There are far too many fancy metrics by which designers and marketeers score the importance of a brand, but I think the absolute score of importance is how much consumers love the brand and its values. Perhaps the brand that gets closest to the universal love for The Poppy Appeal are the millions of consumers who love Apple and everything it considers important.
It is owned by the people
The poppy appeal is inclusive, durable, courageous, humble and inspirational. Technically speaking, the various military legions around the world may own the various poppy trademarks, yet to truly own the brand this doesn’t matter. Each person in the world has a story of how the poppy appeal and the values it represents affected them in some way, each person taking a small slice of the brand as their own to cherish, love and teach the next generation of its importance. There will always be parts of society that don’t want to be part of it but that’s human nature.
Regardless of whether you agree with me that The Poppy Appeal is the most valuable brand in the world, you cannotdeny its influence and ability to engage the world for at least one day of the year. I’ll be wearing my poppy with pride.