Marketers can be surprisingly heavy-handed. The temptation, especially with big brands, is to thunder out answers that let customers know, in unequivocal terms, that they have been recognised. Think about the almost coarse way in which airlines greet their frequent fliers – with a bunch of features dressed up as privileges and a tiered recognition system that allocates them a colour.
Whilst much has been written about when you should revisit your brand architecture and the things you should consider in doing so, often the conversations around how to structure brands seem to centre on hierarchical concerns. “What do we have?” “How do we need to group it?” “How many levels?” “Is it consistent?”
When Nielsen analysed over 3,400 new consumer product introductions launched in the U.S. market in 2012, it found just 14 managed to generate at least $50 million in sales in their first year and sustain that momentum into their second. Out of some 17,000 new products launched since 2008, just 62 of them have had that kind of success.
Some brands and some sectors have baggage. They’re seen as bad. Or they have a reputation for behaving badly. Or they are still trying to win back confidence after a disaster. Or they’re part of a sector that people don’t like. Or a segment of the population would like them to go away. For whatever reason they can’t seem to convince their detractors that they have good intentions. Critics love to hate on them. They attack these brands for what they sell, what they support, what they don’t support, what they say or don’t say. They cast doubt on their motivations. They draw attention to their shortfalls … I have no problem with this in one sense. The right to examine and critique is a sign of a robust democracy. So is the right to dissent.
From a marketer’s point of view, numbers don’t drive recessions. They may start them. They may justify them. But they don’t actually make them happen. What drives recession in a consumer economy is very much the same thing that drives boom: emotion. When enough people believe in it, it will happen – and that’s because there will be enough people acting in a recessive way for the mindset to become embedded, and for the behaviours to seem logical, sensible, responsible, unavoidable.
We tend to put the onus for likeability on B2C brands, but while B2B brands may work to different dynamics and different decision trees, people still want to do business with people they like spending time with. Here are 7 ways your B2B brand can increase other businesses’ inclination to work with you.
This article in Harvard Health Blog in many ways mirrors why consumers take comfort in choosing branded products generally. A brand name means they know what to ask for. They believe in the quality that they associate with the brand. The distribution system believes in the brand.
A couple of months ago, Adrienne Bateup-Carlson sent me this op-ed by Roger Cohen. In it, Cohen laments the plasticisation of experience. “The question of genuine, undiluted experience has been on my mind,” he writes. “Germans have a good word for something authentic: “echt.” We have an echt deficit these days. Everything seems filtered, monitored, marshaled, ameliorated, graded and app-ready — made into a kind of branded facsimile of experience for easier absorption. The thrill of the unexpected is lost … We demand shortcuts, as if there are shortcuts to genuine experience.” Anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of a fast-food “service experience” can sympathise. The greetings are anonymous, the requests generic, the answers pat, the actions either physically or mentally automated. This is life on rote, experience in a box. It feels as sincere as the latest apology for downtown traffic delays, the “Thanks for waiting” message from the telco customer service team and the reassurances from an insurer that they will “gladly” pay up in the event of a claim. It …
We’ve just had Guy Fawkes here in New Zealand. In Wellington, there was a big fireworks display in the harbour as there is every year. It got me thinking about what brands consumers go crackers over, why and is that changing? Recently, the research firm APCO Insight released its list of the top 100 most loved companies. Their study measured consumer attachment to brands based on eight emotions: understanding, approachability, relevance, admiration, curiosity, identification, empowerment and pride. There are some interesting results. Yahoo beat Google. Disney beat everyone (OK, maybe that’s not so much of a surprise) and Apple came in at ninth (which certainly would surprise many). According to the study: The tech sector outperforms across all emotions, and rates especially well on relevance, meaning people see these brands as fitting with them and playing a meaningful role in their lives. But they could inspire more curiosity. Retail brands are seen as highly approachable but people are less enthusiastic about wanting to be associated with them. Restaurants are also approachable for the most part, …
Everyone talks about the need for brands to keep up with consumer demand, yet, curiously, some brands have lived on beyond their purely functional need, largely because they carry with them associations in the form of eternal ideas that continue to burn strong. Watches – for example. Who needs a Rolex today to tell the time (did they ever?) and yet the marque is unchallenged because prestige is an idea that never goes out of style. Zippo is another brand that has outlasted the heyday of cigarettes. As this article in Ad Week explains, “Harnessing its long-standing popularity with men and its indelible associations with fire, Zippo now sells an Outdoor Line that includes everything from emergency fire starters to hand warmers.” True diversification. In a world where so many brands lose relevance and fall by the wayside, what lessons should we take from iconic brands that have successfully passed their necessity date and continue to prosper? The issues faced by Victorinox seem to me to symbolise the dilemmas and the opportunities. Their Swiss Army …