Never go to the grocery market hungry. If you do, you'll come home with much more than you went for, and with some items that you would never buy. That’s because when you’re hungry, everything sounds good, right? And you’re not finished shopping until you’ve grabbed a few of the impulse items at the checkout stand. It’s too easy to grab the Kit Kat and throw it in your cart.
When we discuss targeting capabilities of various digital platforms, clients often use the term ‘creepy.’ People can be a bit uneasy with the realization that they are being targeted with ads based on their own actions, purchases and self-reported information.
You know most of what you need to know about your industry, your customers and your competition. You could look at a survey and predict 90% of the answers, right? That’s the story of my career. I know my clients and their industries very well. But I keep pitching primary research to them. And it’s all so that I can make a buck!
In a world where consumers have virtually all of the control over retail purchases, they still make their choices based on brands. They know what they’re getting — whether it’s quality, price or street cred. There’s something that they value, so they choose the brand that delivers it. Those companies who have the most well-positioned brands are the easiest for consumers to choose from. But, what makes up a strong brand? These are the top five factors:
Advice: Listen to the experts.
I guarantee that no marketing firm or advertising agency recommended this logo to the Best Western decision-makers.
What comes to mind when you think of the iPhone? Sleek, hi-tech, expensive, security blanket, camera, friends, access…? Whatever it is, that’s what you associate with Apple. People go through the same mental process with your company’s brand too. It’s called brand association. And it’s either making you money or costing you some each and every day.
I am intrigued by movies set in the 1800’s that always seem to have the obligatory Magic Tonic salesman drawing a crowd while he exclaims the many benefits of his potion. No matter the movie, the character is always enthusiastic and selling their product as the key to your future happiness. In other words, they make a big deal out of it. And in the movies, like real life, people buy it.
I’ve been involved in a lot of strategic planning sessions lately, and we inevitably discuss brand vision at some point in time. That is, what does the organization want the brand to ultimately be? Something lofty, even noble. As we discuss this, some clients will talk about a vision that is well articulated and congruent with how they are currently operating. Others want their brand to be something that is far different than what it is today (fair enough) and they operate in a manner that isn’t going to get them there (impossible).
The announcement of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods shouldn’t be surprising. Amazon has grown from an online book retailer to a logistics distribution company. Why wouldn’t they, or similar companies get into the delivery of consumable products? Maybe UPS will buy YUM brands next. Or Uber will hook up with Home Depot. And when all of this happens, who will occupy all of this expensive real estate that these national retailers currently occupy? Radio Shack, Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s, Payless, American Apparel – it’s a long list and getting longer.
What does it take for a brand to earn your loyalty? Meeting all of your expectations? Exceeding them? A loyalty program? There's no doubt that loyalty programs can be of tremendous value to marketers. But, developing the program and getting people to join it is just the beginning of the challenge.
There is a business theory that the first brand that goes to market usually wins. Research tells us that being early to market might be better than first. It will be interesting to watch this in practice as autonomous or self-driving vehicles begin hitting the market sometime around 2021. Most of the major automotive manufacturers are developing the vehicles and licensing the technologies that will dramatically change our lives in the very near future. So, first to market might be barely first and have no real impact. I like that because it means good marketing will decide the winner.