How Walter White Should Have Built a Brand…The Right Way
Since the premiere of Breaking Bad 5 years ago, Walter White has made some pretty terrible decisions. He’s lied, murdered and ruined countless lives, oh yeah… he also cooked a whole lot of meth.
Walter White perfected “Blue Sky” along with his brand by creating a drug that had a 99% purity rate and premium blue color. Walt’s drug soon became the superpower on the drug market by providing a product that was irresistible (for obvious reasons) to his target market.
However, it’s important to understand the objectives to achieve this type of great branding:
- Clear delivery of message
- Confirming of your credibility
- Connecting to your target prospects emotionally
- Motivate your buyer
- Concentrate on user loyalty
Walter White understood the needs and wants of his customer; with also keeping the goal in mind to set his family up for life. White used this to his advantage by taking his product to those who craved, desired and NEEDED his product.
Now with a real business, this marketing strategy would be used a bit differently because, well, your not selling to addicts. But, the point is to understand you have to make your customers want and why they need your product or service.
Walt stated from the beginning that he wanted to be able to set his family up for life and then exit the drug game. Obviously, things changed, but think about this, if Walt spent all the time he did perfecting his drug on a legit operation, the ending to ‘Breaking Bad’ may of been very different.
Most of the businesses inside ‘Breaking Bad’ were used mostly to cover up the money laundering and other shady operations taking place, but if all those efforts that had been put into creating a drug empire had, instead, been put into building a brand, where could that of taken Walt and his family?
A1A Car Wash
The Albuquerque car wash, originally owned for many years by Bogdan Wolynetz, was bought out by Skyler when her and Walt needed a legit business to hide their money laundering.
In season 5, Walt and Skyler started co-operating the car wash together one month after Walt’s decision to bow out of the meth business.They even started discussing expanding their “new brand” and leaving the past behind. This would have been a perfect transition to really take this pretend business and creating a real one.
In order to expand, Skyler and Walt would first have to strengthen their brand message and reach out to the community. Whenever a customer left the car wash they were also left with the saying, ” Have an A1 day!”
This was a great starting off point, reinforcing the brand message to customers about the type of service you will get with A1A. A1A could have run with the brand message and created a personalized experience every time you visited the car wash, by promoting their services, dedication to customer service and loyalty to their customers.
The main objective of this would be to get customers to choose their more expensive luxury car wash over a cheap gas station, by giving them the incentive that the business is that much better than anyone else. And there is nothing that consumers love more than attention, and the feeling of being appreciated.
And with a simple, yet effective promotional product like a custom printed air freshener they could continue to reinforce their brand message. Giving away something like an air freshener with their logo would keep their vehicle seeming clean and also keeping their business in a customer’s mind.
Los Hermanos Pollos
Now, Los Hermanos Pollos had a great business empire already building for itself with 14 restaurants in the New Mexico area. Gus created not only a great restaurant business, but a money laundering system as well. Gustavo branded himself as many other restaurant chains have before, so there was a marketing strategy already in place.
“The finest ingredients are brought together with love and care, then slow cooked to perfection. Yes, the old ways are still best at Los Pollos Hermanos. But don’t take my word for it. One taste, and you’ll know.“
Excerpt from the Los Pollos Hermanos TV commercial
Los Hermanos Pollos even had commercials and other marketing campaigns; giving the restaurant a competitive advantage. But Gustavo could of taken his restaurant chain to the next level and created an empire just off his chicken and left the drugs to someone else.
With something as simple as promotional products, Gustavo could have grown his business organically with merchandise like shirts, hats and even lunch bags. These types of items create walking, talking billboards for his brand and have the potential to have a wider reach than a local television commercial (and more cost-effiective!).
By using giveaways or freebies to Gus’s target market, he could of expanded the social aspect of his brand greatly. When a customer is walking through the busy city streets with a shirt that has the Los Hermanos Pollos logo printed right on the front, it is bound to catch the eye of several other consumers walking that same path; therefore leaving them interested in what Los Hermanos Pollos is or craving the product.
The Law Offices of Saul Goodman & Associates
What’s interesting about Saul Goodman and his law office is that he marketed himself to criminals, those with limited disposable incomes and anyone looking to break the rules of the system. Saul was the man you went to when you needed connections and a get out of jail free card.
Now you can’t exactly create a marketing campaign around that brand message, but you can twist it around. Saul had a great slogan, “Better call Saul”, or rather, if you’re in trouble, give me a call.
Saul could have established a more trusted name for himself and a bigger target market by showing that he cared about those in need, like he did with Walt, instead of chasing a quick buck with those who were already fighting a losing battle.
His cheap marketing tactics paid off for him in the show because of the of the client base he was trying to attract. His shady connections behind the scenes allowed him to go after the slumlords or the world, but to effectively market yourself as a lawyer, you should use something better than crappy tv spots (click on the link, its totally worth it) and business cards.
If Saul ever wanted to start over (which he might) something like padfolios would easily give Saul more of a professional appearance if he used them as a promotional giveaway.