“A brand is the desirability of a company or product as perceived by customers and prospects. Wouldn’t it be thrilling for a customer to say, “I desire your brand.” Desire overcomes reason. Take the lottery or fantasy games as examples.”
David A. Gravelle
BRAND FORENSICS – It’s simple. Find out what they think.
Identifying the perceptions of what problem a brand solves or what it adds to your life like reducing stress (Internet Banking) or makes you look hip (Mini Cooper) or makes you look affluent and ecologically aware (Tesla) or saves you money (WalMart) or solves little problems (3M) is the powerful underpinning of what makes a brand relevant and persuasive to the purchase decision. Put another way, the perception of the desirability of your brand is the determining factor in marketing success. The inverse is also true. When sales/donations are negative or de-accelerating, the “why” usually lies with your customer. When an opportunity arises, it will be the perception of the desirability of how the opportunity improves the brand that will give you a chance at success.
Reaching out to your customer or prospect and getting their opinion provides the terra firma required to create a strategy. Somewhat like Einstein said, “If I had one hour to save the earth, I’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only 5 minutes finding the solution.”
Here are a few short examples of real problems that the disciplined approach of Connective Branding uncovered and addressed.
The Problem at the Outset
The Problem Uncovered by Connective Branding
“We can’t agree on what to say in our initial pitch materials.”
The focus was on what each of us wanted to say, not what was influential to the customer.
“We are losing customer count.”
Advertised pricing was inconsistent with customer perceptions of why they had originally chosen the brand.
“We have two different, but related brands in two different environments and don’t know which to put into a new environment.”
The inability to make a decision stemmed from the finding that the present brands together formed a much bigger unarticulated idea that was far more resonant, solved the environmental issues and should overtake both brands.
There have been numerous other situations where Connective Branding found either the root cause of a problem or helped set a newly defined strategy in motion.
- A merger or acquisition expands the business definition.
- The brand is mired in fourth place and can’t gain share.
- The brand can’t raise enough funding even though it works at it.
- The brand is planning a capital campaign and needs to examine and articulate its value proposition.
The lesson, of course, is to always always and always start with what your customers/donors/buyers and prospects perceive about your brand, the other choices that exist and which one accomplishes the task best and why. It doesn’t matter if you are a small not-for-profit trying to do the most good or Big Dood Interstellar Digital. If you don’t make certain that your real and potential customers clearly understand the fundamental premise of your brand, you’ll end up talking about yourself and to yourself.