Most of us started learning about marketing by looking at the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. While I’ve seen people adding P’s, a fifth one and even have seen up to eight P’s. I guess it’s a fairly easy way to teach marketing. It’s an OK way to learn, but it seems to treat marketing like an activity and not really a strategy. You get a product and then figure out where to sell it, what to charge and how to promote it and voila, now you are a marketing guru.
It’s true that most brands do start off as a product or service that helps to address some type of problem the consumer has in their lives. Early on it’s about a selling activity where you push your brand onto the target market and hope they buy. As the brand evolves, you start to establish an identity for the brand that gets well-known, you start narrowing what you’re naturally best at down to a promise and begin executing and building your experience around the promise. As you keep evolving, the Brand starts to shift towards becoming an Idea that helps solve the consumer’s emotional problems.
- Apple is not just a computer or cell phone. It’s based on an idea of “simplicity that deals with the frustration over technology”.
- Dove is not just a soap or hand cream, but all about the idea of “real beauty that allows women to feel comfortable with who they are”.
- Starbucks is not just a coffee and pastries, but an “escape from a hectic day”
While a lot of the Beloved Brands have taken 20 years or even 90 years to earn their status, you can advance your brand faster by starting off as an idea. It becomes less about product and more about the big idea from day 1. It becomes less about hopeful tactics and more about insightful strategy. You’ll be able to build around the idea rather than getting stuck in the constraints of what your product does. An idea helps you connect with consumers and that connection gives your brand added power, and the power can be used to drive higher growth and profits.
A Beloved Brand is based on an idea that’s worth loving.
The Brand Love Curve
In the consumer’s mind, brands sit on a hypothetical Brand Love Curve, where brands go from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life.
At the Beloved Brand stage, demand becomes desire, needs become cravings, thinking is replaced with feelings. Consumers become outspoken fans. It’s this connection that helps drive power for your brand: power versus competitors, versus customers, versus suppliers and even versus the same consumers you’re connected with. The farther along the curve, the more power for the brand. It’s important that you understand where your brand sits on the Love Curve and begin figuring out how to move it along towards becoming a Beloved Brand.
A Beloved Brand uses the love consumers have for the brand to replicate the power of a Monopoly. And from that power, it drives stronger growth and higher profits.
The Five Sources of Connectivity: Promise, Strategy, Story, Freshness, Culture
Under the Brand Idea are 5 sources of connectivity that help connect the brand with consumers and drive Brand Love, including the brand promise, the strategic choices you make, the brand’s ability to tell their story, the freshness of the product or service and the overall experience and impressions it leaves with you. Everyone wants to debate what makes a great brand–whether it’s the product, the advertising, the experience or through consumers. It is not just one or the other–it’s the collective connection of all these things that make a brand beloved.
- The brand’s promise sets up the positioning and comes directly out of the idea you have for your brand. You have to focus on a key target with one main benefit you offer. Brands need to be either better, different or cheaper. Or else not around for very long. “Me-too” brands have a short window before being squeezed out. How relevant, simple and compelling the brand positioning is impacts the potential love for the brand. Force yourself to find that point of difference, and balance the rational and emotional benefits in your promise. Even if you feel the desire to start with a rational promise, wrap it in an emotional package. And as your brand strengthens, layer in more and more emotion. But even at the most emotional stage of a brand, back it up with rational thoughts. It’s about balance. People will stay loyal, pay higher prices and follow a brand they are connected with. More and more, brands are leveraging purpose (the why) into their brand promise, because people buy why you do it, more than just want you do. Push yourself to make your promise the same as why you get up in the morning and you’ll make a fortune.
- The strategic choices that brands make can make a world of difference. Most brands get stuck in thinking 3 months ahead. They miss out on the bigger picture of where you want to be in 5-10 years. To figure out where you want to go starts with where you are today. Map out what’s getting in your way and let those define your strategies. Identifying where the brand is on the Brand Love Curve (see above) helps focus your choice in strategies as you want to look for ways that tighten the connection with consumers. Bring an ROI mindset, with a pathway that has a focus, early win and a leverage to a gateway to something bigger.
- Beloved brands can tell the brand story through five types of media: Paid (traditional and digital advertising) earned (PR, news, events, influencers) search (Search Engine Optimization), social media (facebook, twitter, linked in) and home (website, blog, e-commerce). Beloved Brands find creative ways use each of these media choices to enable your brand to connect emotionally with consumers and they have a bit of magic to the communication. Great advertising helps to separate the brand from the pack, telling the brand promise in a compelling and relevant way.
- The most beloved brands have a freshness of innovation, staying one-step ahead of the consumers–giving them something they’d never have imagined. Having a steady stream of new products helps keep the consumer excited about the brand. The idea of the brand helps acting as an internal beacon to help frame the R&D. Every new product has to back that idea. At Apple, every new product must deliver simplicity and at Volvo, it must focus on safety.
- The most beloved brands create an experience that over-delivers the promise. How your culture and organization are set up can make or break that experience. Hiring the best people, creating service values that employees can deliver against and having processes that eliminate service leakage. The culture attacks the brand’s weaknesses and fixes them before the competition can attack. With a Beloved Brand, the culture and brand become one.
The Most Beloved Brands Are Strong on All 5 Sources of Connectivity
To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:
Other Stories You Might Like
- How to Write a Creative Brief. The creative brief really comes out of two sources, the brand positioning statement and the advertising strategy that should come from the brand plan. To read how to write a Creative Brief, click on this hyperlink: How to Write a Creative Brief
- How to Write a Brand Plan: The positioning statement helps frame what the brand is all about. However, the brand plan starts to make choices on how you’re going to make the most of that promise. Follow this hyperlink to read more on writing a Brand Plan: How to Write a Brand Plan
- Consumer Insights: To get richer depth on the consumer, read the following story by clicking on the hyper link: Everything Starts and Ends with the Consumer in Mind
I run the Brand Leader Learning Center, with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders. To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here: Brand Leadership Learning Center
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About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand. I only do two things: 1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better. I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth. And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge. I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands. My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.