To many people (even those in marketing who should know better) a “brand” is a “logo” or icon that visually represents a company, association or organization. Sometimes this logo is enhanced by a one-line description of the company or its product called a “tagline.”
But a brand – your brand – is much, much more than that. It’s what distinguishes you from your competitors. It’s the first thought that flashes through consumers’ minds when they see your logo or hear your name. Your brand is the essence of your company, your culture and your reputation. And creating, developing and maintaining your brand is key to successfully competing for customers. Why?
Because the human brain has only so much real estate. And if Coke, for example, “owns” the “top of mind” grey cells that control the decision to buy a soft drink, then other soft drink companies are going to have to work that much harder for every sale. (Just ask the Pepsi-Cola Company!)
So how does your company develop a brand that can claim a place in the hearts and minds of your target market? It ain’t easy. It takes a deep understanding of your product, your market, your competition and what your product offers that others don’t. It also demands marketing communications that connect with your audience on an emotional as well as an intellectual level. Here’s one example of a company that did this so successfully its brand has remained a powerhouse for over half a century.
In the late 1950’s a German manufacturer started marketing its small, fuel-efficient and affordable cars in America. Slow, small and nicknamed for the insect it resembled, the car was the Volkswagen “Beetle”.
Of course, Volkswagen wasn’t the only automaker selling low-priced cars that got good gas mileage at that time. But unlike its competitors Renault, Peugeot and others, Volkswagen is still around.
What made Volkswagen unique was that while other cars were advertising their newness, speed and roomy interiors, its ad agency – the legendary Doyle Dane Bernbach – tuned into the needs and values of young, ambitious but not-yet-affluent Americans who were ready to buy their first new car.
The “Beetle,” in contrast to other foreign cars, didn’t flaunt its European heritage. (Far from it – since Germany was not everyone’s favorite country in the decade following World War II and the car itself had a close connection to Hitler.) Nor did it scream about its relatively low price. Instead, Volkswagen ads described its innovative and reliable engineering, great gas mileage and maneuverability in self-deprecating terms that charmed readers right and left. Its advertising had a wit, honesty and intelligence that made consumers feel like they were acquiring all of those attributes themselves just by reading the copy.
Volkswagen became an icon not just because it was a good product but because it was a brand that grabbed the imagination, interest and affection of the American public and never let go.
We begin by determining who you want to talk to, how your customers get information, what they sound like and how to present the benefits your brand offers in terms that make the most sense for them. Then we develop advertising – print, online, promotional materials, social media, etc. – that delivers a uniform, cohesive and consistent message designed to deliver sales AND claim top of mind awareness among your customer base.
Want to know more? Call us now at 262-298-5362. We’d love to get together to find out what you do, what you need and how we can help you become the best known brand in your field.
By the way, part of OUR brand is to nurture and nourish you with information, great work and, when appropriate, chocolate chip cookies. Lunch anyone?