The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Why do people purchase the products, services and brands that they do? At a minimum, marketers should think about this periodically. Ideally, marketers should always be thinking about this. So, why do people purchase specific things?
- They solve problems. They make my life easier or safer or more pleasant.
- They are whimsical. They make me smile or laugh. They make me feel playful. They entertain me.
- They are beautiful. They are a source of awe or wonder. They calm me. They make me feel good about my life. I love to be surrounded by beauty.
- They surprise me. I love their unexpected nature. They fulfill my need for mental stimulation and variety.
- They make me feel important. They give me status. They feed my ego.
- They are addictive. They fulfill a deep craving. They are pleasurable. They are satisfying.
- They provide me with information or knowledge or access.
- They give me more time. They increase my freedom. They reduce my workload. They release me from mundane tasks.
- They reduce my anxiety. They increase my peace of mind. They give me one less thing to worry about.
- They stimulate my senses. They look, smell, taste, sound or feel good.
Think about this. What are some other reasons people buy things? Why do you buy what you buy? What was the most recent product, service or brand that you purchased? Why did you purchase it? Why did you choose it over the competitive alternatives? What was your most memorable purchase? What made it memorable? What product, service or brand do you value the most? Why do you value it?
This sort of thinking should be second nature to marketers. After all, isn’t marketing the art and science of motivating people to buy specific products, services and brands?
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education
Marketers mostly focus on repositioning their own brands. But, you can also reposition a competitor’s brand. That is, you can create messaging about your brand that shed’s a negative light on the competitor’s brand, making your brand look better in comparison. Repositioning is how you adjust perceptions, whether those perceptions are about you or about your competition often hanging a negative on the competition as a way to set up a positive. Here are some examples of that.
- Avis leveraged its #2 rental car position with the tagline and campaign “We try harder,” implying that the #1 brand Hertz was resting on its laurels.
- Scope focused not on the consumer problem which its product cured, but on the consumer problem its competitor caused. Scope used this weakness to reposition Listerine as “medicine breath.”
- Apple repositioned PCs as stodgy and boring in its ‘I’m a Mac and I’m a PC’ campaign. A Bill Gates look-a-like punctuated the portrayal of PC’s while Mac had a cool, progressive Jobs-esque character.
- Arrowhead Smoke Shop and Gas Mart (in Upstate New York) ended a series of television ads with the comment, “and we don’t add water to our gasoline” implying that some of their competitors might (a claim that I believe only a few people would find credible).
- We helped one health care system reposition their competitors as not being able to handle the toughest medical cases, identifying many proof points to reinforce this perception.
- We helped FootJoy tap into golfers’ aspirations to be seen as serious golfers with the tagline “The mark of a player” implying that its competitors’ brands are not the choice of the most serious golfers.
- Tylenol repositioned Bayer and its miracle drug aspirin as something that is harsh on your stomach by claiming that “aspirin can irritate the stomach lining…for those that cannot take aspirin, fortunately, there is Tylenol.”
Today on Branding Strategy Insider, another brand strategy question from the BSI Emailbag. Lisa, a marketer in Washington D.C. asks:
“What is the difference between repositioning and rebranding?”
Thanks for your question Lisa. Rebranding has become quite popular, especially for brands that want to shed a previously negative image. For instance, Philip Morris rebranded itself to Altria. Or brands that are facing increased competitive pressure like McDonald’s. Rebranding is simply changing the brand’s identity. It typically includes changing most or all of the brand identity elements such as the name, icon, colors, type font and tagline. The identity change may also be accompanied by brand repositioning.
However, a brand can be repositioned without changing its identity. Repositioning focuses on changing what customers associate with the brand and sometimes competing brands. This usually entails a change in the brand’s promise and its personality. Taglines often change with brand repositioning (to communicate the new promise). And sometimes the identity itself is updated or refreshed to reinforce the change in the brand’s positioning. However, most brand repositioning projects do not result in completely changed identities. That is, usually the brand name does not change. And frequently, neither do the identity elements other than the tagline and perhaps a slight identity system updating.Read More
Today on Branding Strategy Insider, another brand strategy question from the BSI Emailbag. Jim, an Executive Director at a nonprofit organization in Seattle, Washington writes:
“I work for a nonprofit organization that needs to rebrand. I am getting resistance from the board and a major client. Do you have any advice to help me get the buy-in I need to accomplish this without alienating critical stakeholders?”
Hi Jim, thanks for your question. Given the potential resistance to the rebranding effort, I would start with a survey of key stakeholders to determine how they are feeling about the organization and its brand including the strength of its unique value proposition, its traction against competitive organizations, any concerns, etc. Without being too biased or leading, help the organization’s stakeholders come to their own conclusions by getting them to think about the issues that could be solved by a rebranding effort. I wouldn’t initially talk about rebranding.
I would then share the results of the survey and create a discussion around it. If people begin to see the need for some changes, I would then talk about brand strategy refinement. If the discussion starts out as a strategic discussion, it avoids the issue of people’s attachments to specific brand identity elements. I might then conduct more customer research to determine organization and brand perceptions. Using all of this input, I would conduct a consensus-building brand positioning workshop with key stakeholders. The result should be a new brand positioning statement including the brand’s essence, promise, archetype and personality.Read More
Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Anna, a Product Manager in Stockholm, Sweden who writes…
“I have recently become the product manager of a pharmaceutical product. This product is 1 out of 8 in the Nordic market. All products but one are original. The biosimilar product markets itself on price, however due to very aggressive marketing they have been taking the market by storm. The product category is old, tried and tested and all substances are pretty much exactly the same. The differentiation is in the administration device. Two products have clear product advantages (in the administration device) that are of real value for the patient. Mine doesn’t. In fact there is nothing of value that my product has that no one else hasn’t. Our price is OK but my team is struggling to convince the doctors to use it when better alternatives are available. We currently have about 5% of the market and I am failing to reach my year-end target. I have 5 months left to change strategy, inspire my sales team and turn this around. If I do, I will be the first one to ever bring us above 5% market share.
To add to the challenge the previous PM had somewhat of a cluttered style. I have cleaned up the messaging to focus on the only thing that I can see sets us apart, our product was the first of its kind on the market (however we are marketing it under a license from the company that invented it). Furthermore, we have been ordered from HQ to have a short term approach in our marketing and my budget is small. At the moment the bulk of the budget is spent on conferences and educational events for the doctors. A price only strategy is not an option since we could never compete on price in the long term.”
Thanks for your question, Anna. Many brands share your brand’s dilemma. The product itself is a commodity. That is, it is undifferentiated from competitive alternatives. First, I would direct you to our blog posts on branding commodities. They list a number of general approaches for differentiating commodities.Read More