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A brand is a well-known product name. Brands were invented in order to increase confidence in the product through its fame. People trust more familiar products, which means they buy better. But before acquainting a brand with customers, it is necessary to come up with it, create characteristic features, emphasize its features and advantages over competitors, that is, create Brand Identity.
And since the basics of branding were laid before the advent of Web 2.0, when buyers became full participants in creating stories about brands and products under them, it is not surprising that no one took their opinion into account in the development process.
Today, this drawback needs to be eliminated, since a strong dissonance between brand stories and real customer stories about the product leads to a decrease in marketing confidence. This contradicts the meaning of brands, which is to increase confidence in the product. Perhaps the term Identity itself – identification – no longer fully reflects the essence of the task, because identification is the attitude of the brand to itself, and now we are more interested in the influence of customer relations on its identification.
Here are 3 common causes of brand misidentification.
“All competing products are the same, so you need to come up with the hallmarks of the brand.”
There are not even one, but two problems, but we will focus on the first part of the statement: “all competing products are the same.” Firstly, even simple products manufactured in the same factory using the same technology will not be identical. They will always find some differences, regulated by technological tolerances. Secondly, different people who buy competing products choose them because they see special features that suit them. For example, my wife claims to prefer Pepsi-Cola, because it is sweeter and her teeth, unlike Coca-Cola, do not grit.
As you can see, the statement about the identity of competing products is a misconception, which is the primary source of the problem.
Creativity divorced from the life and context of product purchases.
How to make a product unique? What brand story and idea to come up with to differ from competitors? No one will argue that in marketing there is a cult of creativity and the Big Idea, which should become the basis of the brand. And there wouldn’t be anything bad if the source of the creative inspiration of the creators were real customer stories about the experience of buying a product. After all, to convince people that your product will solve their problem is the main task of marketing. But, unfortunately, branding was very far from this task, focusing all its efforts on “original ideas” and coming up with unique differences, despite the fact that in most cases these differences already exist in the minds of buyers who are ready to explain their choice. And why do not marketers give up inventing brand values and learn to listen to customers, find out their values and accurately and clearly formulate them?
Marketing makes brands the same.
Is funny Need proof? Please point by point.
- Chasing new ideas, marketing falls under the influence of competitors or other brands. Studying the cases of other companies, marketers involuntarily copy their favorite strategic decisions.
- Strategies are created on the basis of stereotypical ideas about consumer insights of individual socio-demographic groups. Very often they are the source of the loss of brand identity.
Since the creation of marketing messages is influenced by the same stereotypes about the same socio-demographic groups, and often by the same creative people, it is not surprising that most brands with the same target audiences are similar to the point of confusion. You can easily substitute the name of a competing product in the marketing message of most brands without the slightest loss of meaning.
Do not believe it? Try to find 10 differences.
And now the question arises: what to do with all this? Is there a solution?
There is. Everything is very simple and complicated at the same time. Simple – because the brand and brand’s attitude should be at the heart of the new Brand Identity concept. But it’s difficult – because it requires revolutionary changes in the approach to marketing and, which is much more complicated, a fundamental restructuring of the entire industry. Perhaps even the term Brand Identity should be replaced with a more suitable one – for example, Brand Attitude…
For this, the basis of the concept should not be the corporate values of the company, not its mission, not industry standards and not even the opinion of its top managers about the features of consumer behavior of the target audience, but a structured description of the behavior of customers in the process of acquiring your product. Creating marketing concepts based on a study of particularly active customers who have the most significant influence on Brand Attitude will solve a number of problems:
- Bring marketing messages and brand content closer to the real values of customers;
- Create key brand messages in the context of solving specific customer problems;
- increase trust in brand marketing – and, therefore, in the products themselves;
- Avoid copying communication strategies of competitors;
- Do not lose uniqueness and find your face.
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Well, and, as always, I will be happy to answer your informative comments on this article!