Imagine Apple built a hotel. Can you picture what it will be like? Can you picture the kind of people that you might see there? You probably can!
Now Apple is not into the hotel business, but you do have an idea of what a hotel from Apple would be like? This is the power of the brand.
Branding is, creating a persona of your company that is recognizable. Branding differentiates your product or service from your competitor’s, not on the features or the price, but on a story you tell your customers. A story that resonates with a specific segment of the market. A story which that specific segment shares. A story by which people with similar tastes, identify each other. As Seth Godin says: “People like us, do things like this.”
Brand Marketing vs Direct Marketing?
Brand marketing and direct marketing are fundamentally different. Direct marketing is reaching out to customers without a middleman. As in direct mail, direct e-mails, online adverts, flyers, websites and catalog ads. i.e. Media that the customer directly handles or uses. Direct Marketing is measurable. You can calculate the amount of leads and conversions a direct marketing ad generates.
Brand marketing is not measurable. It does not translate to sales in the present. Brand marketing is a long process that is focused on your customers. Brand marketing is about telling a story that resonates with your audience. It strengthens the customer base and it fosters loyalty. It rewards your business in the long term.
Is Brand Marketing for you?
Brand marketing, as established before, is not something that will skyrocket sales instantly. That is the job of direct marketing. Brand marketing is supposed to foster a long-term bond with your customers. This bond can sustain the test of competitors. This bond is what consumers will be willing to pay on top of the actual price of the product or service you provide.
Thus, when starting a new venture the right way is to supplement direct marketing with brand marketing. This way, direct marketing will provide immediate sales while brand marketing will develop that relationship you seek to make with your target audience.
How to Brand
What do people desire? Convenience for one, people want to stand out and, people yearn for high status!
Now a brand marketer should address these desires of the target audience. Tackling these desires with your product or service will create tension in the minds of potential customers. This tension is good. This tension will make people leap forward towards an action and then either associate with the brand or outright reject it. Both are good. Rejection here is not bad. The people that chose to reject are not your people, not your target audience. You do not cater to their needs. Your concern are the people whose beliefs, vision and dreams align with yours.
Great marketers do not target victims to sell. Instead, they attract volunteers who will happily be a part of their story. So, induce emotions among your consumers, target their feelings and sell your brand with a story that resonates with those feelings. Your story needs to be built around psychographics instead of Demographics. Psychographics are the beliefs, ideals, dreams, likes and tastes of people. You need to find people with similar psychographics and target them.
When you have successfully related the story with the customers. Then it does not matter what your competitors’ products are, what features they have or how they are priced. Your brand value is not then incumbent upon your product’s features or your competitors’ products, rather your brand value is the relationship you have fostered with your customers that lets you charge extra, above the market price of your product or service. That margin above the market price, that extra bonus, is what your brand value is.