Brands need distinctiveness and relevance to be powerful. Follow these five steps to get there.
- Stop thinking of the people who buy your product as “consumers.” They’re people, human beings just like you and me. They’re not sitting out there consuming all day: they’re living lives like you are. They’re complex. They have stories, motivations and belief systems you need to make an effort to understand. Because when you really understand what matters to them you can shape your brand to be something they are drawn to at a higher level than just rational benefits.
- Look at the culture. What’s going on in the world that can affect your brand? What are the changing attitudes and new technologies? Are lifestyles evolving? What are the opportunities? Are there needs that aren’t being met? What can you learn from other categories? How do cultural changes affect the way people perceive your brand? What are the opportunities?
- Study the competition. What do each of the other brands in the category stand for? Why is the leader the leader? What are the reasons for the upward trends of those that are growing in share? What is the open space no brand represents in terms of values and style that could be an opportunity for your brand?
- Do some soul-searching: analyze your own brand. Was there a time in its past when it was really successful? Figure out why. Is it a start-up entering a new category? Is it really a brand or just a product? When you ask people about it can they describe it using personality traits and images or do they have trouble thinking of anything to say? If your customers switch around from your brand to a competitor’s you have potential to make your brand more distinct. What are the brand’s biggest assets? What is the best thing it stands for now in peoples’ minds?
- Plant a flag. Define what your brand is going to stand for in terms of a philosophy or collection of ideals that can draw people to it. Be, well, human. Have a style and personality that’s different from your competitors and relevant to them. Stick with it; don’t waver over time. Set forth your belief system as something people want to join.
Let me know what you think.
Marketing Research Consultant