August 14/21: Volume 32, Issue 5
By Lisbeth Calandrino
Brands have been around forever, but the theory of branding has changed.
It used to be that bigger was better and the louder you shouted the more attention you got. Remember when Coca Cola owned the soft drink market? Sure, they still have a huge market share but have big and new competitors. They’ve been sharing the market for a while with Pepsi and the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group. One of the newest entrants, Red Bull, created a whole new product category called energy drinks.
As the product markets continue to crowd, so does the difficulty in getting brand recognition. “In the old days,” you were in command of your message, and since there was much less competition, the consumer listened. Another big change is the way information is now disseminated. The Internet has changed everything and leveled the playing field. The consumer has become the product marketer and gained control of your brand. If you’re not using the tools available, you will get lost to the sea of sameness.
Businesses are used to starting with their product and telling consumers why theirs is the important in the marketplace. Today’s products are everywhere and by the time your consumer gets to your business, they already know everything about your products.
What they might not know is who you are and what you stand for. Today’s consumers are more interested in your core beliefs and why you do what you do. This can differentiate your product and business from others in the overcrowded marketplace.
Instead of starting with the product it’s more important to begin with core beliefs of the business and why you do what you do. The new branding, as pointed out by Samuel Sinek in his book, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” motivates consumers to bond to the company because of what they stand for.
There are other examples. Consider Wegman’s Food Market and their value statements. “Caring, High Standards Make a Difference, Respect and Empowerment.” Panera Bread continues to shout about its 100% clean message after eliminating artificial items from their food. “To Panera, a salad is more than a salad.”
One of my personal favorites is the Farmers Insurance commercial, “We’ve seen a thing or two.” Their commercials depict ridiculous things that have happened to their customers. Instead of talking about prices they dialogue about their core values. “Farmers not only prides itself on helping you plan wisely for the unexpected, but also on helping restore order when it occurs so you can keep moving along the road of your life’s plans.”
So what are your values? Do your employees talk about what you stand for and what matters to your company? What do you do that inspires your customers to want to be on “your team?”
To find the answers, ask yourself the following questions:
What do your customers think about you and how much do they share online? What are your customers saying about you? (Be sure to respond quickly to negative reviews.)
How are you educating your customers? Do your blogs explain to customers how to buy your products or what makes a good salesperson? Do you quote your customers in your blogs?
Remember, to your customers, you are just as important as the products you sell.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.