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.
24 Just sell marginally on the Internet
Selling on the Internet is strictly hype in luxury marketing. Many marketers seem to think that if you do not sell on the Internet, you are ‘out’. There, the distinction between luxury, fashion and premium strategy of prestige brands operating on the luxury market is crucial. Internet sales are extremely well adapted to fashion and premium, but not to luxury. Self-proclaimed ‘web specialists’ fault the luxury companies for not selling online, forgetting – or ignoring – that all the ‘plusses’ of digital trade (instantaneity, permanent change and actualization, availability, accessibility, price reductions, automation of service, crowdsourcing, etc.) are huge ‘minuses’ for luxury. Luxury purchase needs time and effort to be deserved, true price and no discounts on excessive prices, one-to-one relationships with the salespeople and not with a machine, feeling of belonging to a ‘club’ of selected people and not being part of an anonymous crowd. The Internet can be used as a complementary service for existing customers, or as initiation to the brand story or to the product for potential and selected new customers. It cannot be used as a selling tool, except for products that are not part of the luxury strategy of the brand, such as fashion lines or entry products.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: JN Kapferer, excerpted from his book, The Luxury Strategy with permission from Kogan Page publishing.
See all of the Anti-laws of Luxury Marketing here.
Sponsored by: The Brand Positioning Workshop
Action vs. Reaction: The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley May 16-17, 2013 in San Diego, California
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 100 participants
As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn
According to Harvard professor, Youngme Moon, hostile brands are “brands that play hard to get.” The antithesis of “feel good brands,” hostile brands defiantly demand a decision – love me or leave me.
Success through Alienation
It sounds risky, yet the number of successful brands that practice at least elements of hostile marketing is astonishing.
- Consider Harley Davidson and its not for everyone noisome bikes and in-your-face attitudes.
- Red Bull is unapologetic about its bad boy ingredients and underground marketing emphasizing extreme sports.
According to Moon, these brands, as well as MINI-Cooper, Marmite, Hollister, Benetton, and many others resemble the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” in that you are invited to go someplace else if you don’t like the way you’re treated. Today more brands are activating a hostile brand strategy.
- Lululemon is quirky and not afraid to show it. The firm deliberately plans for popular items to run short to ensure customers will buy at full prices. It also encourages store personel to eavesdrop on customers.
- Domino’s Pizza announced via an ad campaign it will say “No!” to customers who want to add or remove toppings from items in it artisan pizza line.
These brands are unashamed of their product shortcomings, often evasive with their distribution and likely to shun welcoming promotions in favor of “messages that are likely to repulse as much as they attract.” In the words of Moon:
“No matter the stratagem, hostile brands erect barriers to consumption, barriers that could in many ways be considered tests of our affiliation.”Read More
There are many today who advocate direct response marketing to the exclusion of other marketing channels. These are very silly people.
The problem isn’t that direct response marketing (which I define as advertising with a concrete offer and a measurable response mechanism) isn’t important and necessary. It’s just not sufficient. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even close.
The real issue isn’t what direct response measures, but what it doesn’t. Those that ignore other marketing channels either aren’t aware of the facts or are just not thinking clearly.
The Allure of Direct Response Marketing
The case for direct response marketing is logical: Why waste money on lots of fuzzy concepts when you can directly spur sales and get clear, measurable results? Unfortunately, the results aren’t as clear as they might seem and branding isn’t as nebulous as direct response advocates often claim.
Firstly, direct response campaigns vary widely in their results. Some of this is due to how well the campaign itself is executed, but a lot has to do with how strong the brand being promoted is and what other promotion is going on at the same time. Marketing channels work better in combination than they do as isolated entities.
Secondly, branding metrics are as measurable as anything else. Many corporations regularly track their brands and can access brand data as easily as they do sales data. You can be sure that successful, profit oriented enterprises wouldn’t continue to do so unless they had clearly established a link between the two.
In truth, there is a lot more to a purchase than simply seeing an offer and responding to it.Read More
There’s a profound shift in power taking place in the business arena. With a whole new breed of exceptional new brands living by the rules of Business 3.0, consumers are now attracted to unproven and unknown brands the way they were attracted to established brands in the past. In fact, ‘established’ is now often just another word for tired if not tainted. The future belongs to Clean Slate Brands. Newer, better, faster, cleaner, more open and responsive; consumers are rushing to Clean Slate Brands and are now lavishing love, attention and trust on brands without heritage and history. Driving this trend:
1. Lust for the New > Why for consumers, ‘new’ now truly means ‘better’
The consumer arena has never been more fixated on the ‘new’. Thanks to the democratization and globalization of innovation (not to mention the celebration of entrepreneurship), brands and individuals from all corners of the world are now working around the clock to dream up and launch endless new products and services, that are truly better and more exciting than current offerings. Lower barriers to entry has gone from buzzphrase to reality, especially online.
And to underscore the ‘for and by’ element of the democratization of innovation, new players are by default more nimble and laser-focused on what consumers want now (as opposed to yesterday) than the bigger legacy-laden brands they compete with.
So from being something that was pushed to consumers by businesses (‘new and improved’), the ‘new’ is now subject to an increasingly strong pull from consumers. Excited by positive experiences of a ‘new’ that is genuinely ‘better’, consumers are hungry for more.
2. Instant Trust > Why consumers are immediately comfortable with, even prefer, turning to Clean Slate Brands
The whole concept of ‘brands’ rests on the idea that consumers need recognizable, trusted symbols, honed over many years, to help them navigate the wealth of available choices. However this idea is being swept aside in a business arena now characterized by Instant Trust.
This trend is most relevant in mature economies, where trust in big business has never been lower: only 28% trust big business in the UK, 30% in Japan, 32% in Australia, 33% in the US and 34% in Canada. In emerging markets however, consumers’ trust levels are much higher: 83% in China, 72% in Turkey, 65% in Brazil and India (Havas, January 2013). The question is: will big business maintain this trust?
Four forces are making consumers immediately comfortable with (and even prefer) turning to Clean Slate Brands:Read More
Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. To that end we’re happy to answer your marketing questions. Today we hear from Bill, a Senior Brand Manager in Chicago, Illinois who writes…
“I’m a long time reader who will be attending The Un-Conference. My question – After an initial success of our functional beverage product introduction, we have experienced a drop in sales within the retail channel. Our prices are competitive with other brands. We believe our label describing our functional benefits may no longer be resonating with consumers. We’ve tested various descriptive words in various decorative packaging design themes. We came away with a lot of information about what words and designs people like–but no useful information revealing why our brand is losing momentum and sales. What would you suggest we do next?”
Thanks for your question Bill. Fixing words on your packaging that need fixing is an easy thing to do. Influencing consumers to reach for your product at shelf rather than the other alternative is a very difficult thing to do. It’s tempting to go for the quick tactical fix – some clever copywriting and a few design tweaks. You must think bigger. To win the battle at shelf requires your product represent a greater, more valuable idea to the consumer than the words and decorations used on the label to describe its function and benefits.
Consumers must value “the reason to believe” your promise. Certainly, product attributes, functions and benefits form the building blocks that differentiate one thing from another. Being different from your competitors is not enough to win at shelf.
Consumers demand and expect products to function and deliver the promised benefits. Today everything is good. On the shelf, good = the same. Abundant choice and clutter has made today’s consumers deaf and blind. They’re immune to buzz words, descriptors, starbursts and flashy colors. To win at shelf requires your product represent a higher ideal steeped in shared values and a greater experience. If it doesn’t, it better be the cheapest price. (If that is not a goal — re-focus)
To get consumers reaching for your brand rather than your competitors requires they hold a perception in their mind of a desired experience that’s difficult to substitute.
If the product doesn’t represent a higher ideal and is functionally the same as everything else, copywriting and graphic design, no matter how clever and cool, won’t be effective in building long term sales growth and brand value even if you win some design awards.Read More