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Brand Values Alignment

I Am The Brand

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Brand Strategy Brand Relevance

To align brand relevance, the makers and the users need to see their own reflection in the mirror of the brand.

Strong (cult) brands really matter to people.  However, in practice, brand’s can become lazy and so can their brand managers. Before brands loose their relevance, there’s always a period of complacency in brand management. When people stop seeing their reflection in the brand–then people stop caring (buying your stuff). You can’t advertise your way out of that problem.

It’s important to remember: I am the brand.

Think of any brand that really matters and you’ll discover the type of people buying the stuff are the same type of people who design, make and sell the stuff.  This is the awesome sauce of brand values and brand identity alignment. Apparel brands like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, The North Face, and Columbia have this going for them in spades.  The bond that binds is a deep inter-personal connection between the users and the makers.

But what about low-involvement-categories like breakfast cereal or toilet paper? Can a cereal brand (or toilet paper) build rich meaningful relationships with customers? Relationships based in the passion of their mutual experience?

Kashi quickly comes to my mind.

In the same manner as the enthusiast apparel brands mentioned earlier, Kashi customers see themselves, their values, and their identities in complete harmony with the Kashi brand. They’re one and the same.

Likewise, the Kashi people care about the same stuff as their consumer– greater health and well-being for themselves and the planet.  For Kashi, making food that enhances life is sacred business. For Kashi customers, living well is sacred business. More people are waking up to caring more about others and our planet, and buying Kashi products too.

Well-managed brands in every category know who they serve and why because the lunatics are running the asylum.

If your organization finds itself realizing it’s brand has lost it’s relevance, or is fuzzy about who cares about it – don’t let another 30% drop in sales shake you into taking action. Start by looking in the mirror… what do you see?

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2 Comments

Joy Levin on September 23rd, 2011 said

Great point – although I would argue that the makers are not always the same as the users, particularly as a brand moves further down the product life-cycle. This is why the maker has to develop a consistent program of measuring buyer expectations – to avoid incorrect assumptions about buyer needs, and to observe how those needs may change over time as new buyers are added to the mix.

Jessica Moran on September 23rd, 2011 said

FYI, Kashi is currently being sued for using tons of synthetic ingredients in their “all natural” products. They might be turning into an example of what not to do.

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