Is Your Brand Bland?

April 4, 2009 by  Filed under: Branding 

Have you ever run a marketing campaign and then wondered why the phone didn’t ring? Or why hundreds of customers didn’t come rushing to bash down your doors to buy from you?

Reality is, the response rates to ‘direct response’ marketing is lower than any of us would care to know. We are optimistic by nature, and when we place an ad, do a flyer drop or run a radio campaign we spend the week leading up to the campaign working out how we are going to handle all the extra business it will create, only to be disappointed when the phone only rings two or three times…

So should you even bother spending your money on marketing? The short answer is a resounding YES! The key is to understand how to make it work for your business.

Have a think about the last time you got so excited about an ad, flyer or radio/TV commercial that you dropped everything in a mad panic to get to the phone and buy whatever it was they were advertising. However, I am sure you could sing a jingle or two of your favorite brands.

Now, I’m not saying that direct marketing doesn’t work, what I am saying is it rarely works as well as we expect. For this reason, it is a trap for any business and to maximize your return on investment there are some important factors to consider before launching any campaign.

There are two very different types of advertising, Brand Building and Direct Response. I’ll kick off by saying that ‘Direct Response’ marketing needs to make you enough profit from the campaign to pay for it, and also add some profit to your bottom line to be considered a ‘success’. This type of ad is ‘salesmanship in print’ and needs to compel the reader to take action NOW. Don’t expect a high response rate unless you are willing to offer a deal too good to miss. I am sure you’ll remember the “but wait, there’s more” ad campaigns, offering a set of steak knives to close the deal along with money back guarantees and 2 for 1 deals.

Now let’s take a look at the latter, Brand Building. Brand building is all about ‘Trust’ and ‘Credibility’. You will always feel comfortable buying from someone that you trust and has credibility, no matter how good a deal is, if you do not ‘trust’ the seller then you won’t buy. Marketing guru Seth Godin says it’s about being a “purple cow”. It’s about being the one purple cow in a paddock of brown cows. Also known as your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). If you are not different from your competitors then you’re destined to compete only on price.

Having a strong brand can make the phone ring, can make customers walk into your store, can create loyal customers and get people to buy from you. Many of the ‘big’ players have proven this time and time again. So how do you go about building your brand?

Make it unique

You need to be truly unique to position your brand for success. ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ and ‘friendly service’ are far from unique, and if that’s all you can come up with to clearly define your difference then you are wasting your time.

Support a cause

Sometimes building your brand can be as simple as supporting a cause, the rock band Midnight Oil did it, as did the ‘Body Shop’ with their policy of ‘no animal testing’ and there ‘save the whales with Greenpeace’ campaign. Studies have shown that people will switch to your brand if you support a good cause.

Create a ‘WOW’ factor

Remember the last really good movie you watched, how many people did you tell about it? Make your business an ‘experience’ your customers will rave about.

Have a clear vision

Your vision needs to enroll and inspire everybody in touch with your business. You, your team and your customers. Get everyone excited about your brand.

Know your customer

Make sure you are clear about WHO your ideal customer is. Using a ‘blanket approach’ will cost time and money. Once you have clarity about your ideal client you will be able to send a clear message directly to your market.

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