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.
Category: Brand Building
I think that those of us who work in marketing often over-estimate the degree of affection that people have toward brands. Much of the evidence suggests that people really do not think about brands all that often or care about them that deeply. Instead, the importance of many brands to their consumers is derived from a series of inconsequential experiences. Those brands may be more valuable as a result.
Kevin Roberts, has famously promoted the idea that brands should aspire to become Lovemarks. Its Web site describes Lovemarks as follows:
Lovemarks are the future beyond brands. They deliver beyond your expectations of great performance. Lovemarks reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can’t live without. Ever.
Powerful stuff, and yes, brands should deliver a great experience, one people love, but is there really a brand you “just can’t live without?” Readers of this blog know I love my car, but that does not prevent me from wondering if there is something better out there. Particularly when most brands are pretty incidental to our lives, just how realistic is it that people care that much about all of them?
Besides, I think there is a benefit for brands that fly under our conscious radar. The ones that rely on cues and circumstance to trigger instinctive positive reactions and habits stimulate behavioral loyalty. I suspect that there are many brands that thrive because people have become habituated to them. They buy them time after time, without thinking about the price they pay or the alternatives. Loyalty is built up over time through repeated good experiences and repeated purchasing behavior.
Bill Moggridge, one of the co-founders of design company, IDEO, is quoted in the Objectified documentary as saying:
I like the concept of wearing in rather than wearing out. You’d like to create something where the emotional relationship is more satisfying over time.
(People) don’t have to have a strong love relationship with their things but they should grow sort of a little more fond of them perhaps over time.Read More
Unfortunately, fear is still the primary motivator among humans. I say unfortunately because I would hope that one day we would transcend our fears and be motivated primarily by our highest dreams and visions. It would lead to a much more utopian world.
Never the less, as I lead up to a brand marketing point, here is a partial list of some of our most common fears (in no particular order):
- Fear of flying
- Fear of dying
- Fear of heights
- Fear of the dark
- Fear of intimacy
- Fear of commitment
- Fear of crowds
- Fear of making a mistake
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of abandonment
- Fear of change
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of damnation
- Fear of public speaking
- Fear of being discovered as an imposter
- Fear of germs
- Fear of clowns
- Fear of snakes
- Fear of spiders
- Fear of wild animals
- Fear of drowning
And marketing messages certainly play off of fear. Consider the opposite of each of these marketing claims. With our brand, you will feel:Read More
Brand marketers should keep the following in mind for building strong brands:
1. Do we really understand what motivates our brand’s target customers?
2. Does the brand have a point of view? Does it stand for something?
3. Does the brand transcend a product category?
4. Is the brand truly differentiated?
5. Does the brand possess admirable human qualities? Is it trustworthy and reliable?
6. Does the brand build an emotional connection?
7. Is the brand’s identity immediately recognizable and memorable?
8. Are we presenting the brand consistently over time and across media?
9. Does the brand promise come to life at every point of customer contact?
10. What are we doing to build brand awareness?Read More
What does it really mean to be a truly “brand-driven” enterprise in the new economy? Many persist in defining brand as the external image of a company, product or service. In reality, brand-driven companies know intuitively it is first an internal activity that comes from the heart of the enterprise straight to the heart of the customer. It is always an honest, open, two-way conversation that creates enormous value for both participants. As products and services become more and more functionally similar, and the noise of marketing and message clutter becomes increasingly hard to navigate through, customers will have more difficulty differentiating and perceiving innovation from common, good from great. Design is essential to brand-driven companies.
Brand design in the new economy is more about meaning than marketing. That being said, the whole notion of the science of branding as a means for determining quantitative metrics seems to be an over-sold idea. Metrics are important and useful, but how do you quantify a person’s feelings, aspirations, passions, beliefs and devotion? Yet the rewards for connecting these “soft” emotional attributes add billions of dollars of hard market value (think brand equity) to those who employ a greater conscious awareness of the power of break away brand design. Branding is no longer marketing shtick. And it should never be a process owned solely within the disciplines of product development and marketing. A brand belongs to every discipline within the enterprise. All coming together to craft unified and honest answers to a few tough introspective questions:
- why are we here?
- how are we unique?
- how do we make a difference to our customer?
- who cares and why?
Most leadership teams choose “trustworthy” as the most important brand personality attribute when positioning their brands. Why? People need to trust the brands they use. They want to know what to expect. They don’t want any surprises, at least not negative ones.
So, it still surprises me when I encounter brands that are completely inconsistent in their execution across products, services or locations. Think of a fast food chain in which the menu items vary from location to location, or worse, the food or service quality varies from location to location. Imagine a brand that produces some very high quality products that are extremely durable and reliable. Now imagine that same brand offering other products of significantly lower quality, durability and reliability. What does that brand stand for? Can you trust it? Imagine a coffee house chain in which some locations’ bathrooms are immaculate and others are absolutely filthy. Or a hotel brand that offers free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, a fitness center and a swimming pool in most, but not all, locations.
Brand managers must consider ways to maintain consistency across all of the following:
- Overall quality level
- Service quality level
- Product functionality and features
- Product availability
- Location amenities
- Flavor consistency
- Durability and reliability levels
- Time consistency
Your customers are counting on your brand to be predictable. Otherwise, what does the brand stand for except for inconsistency itself?
Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning WorkshopRead More