Let’s cut to the chase. This is highly controversial and will no doubt flood my inbox from so-called marketers and advertisers who are too settled into their paradigms to recognize the incredible opportunity about to be bestowed upon them as well as the broken down ego’s of many business owners who aspire to see their company brand in lights. Welcome to my world.
Branding is a word that gets tossed around in business like yesterday’s junk mail. Truly, only a select few have a genuinely firm grasp of what branding is and how to accomplish it. Endless resources on branding await discovery on the Internet from people who have never accomplished such a feat, and most likely will never.
In short, branding is expensive …too expensive, and slow. We’re talking 8-figures on the low end, annually. Branding in and of itself is a waste of resources that can easily be leveraged elsewhere.
The good news is: branding is completely unnecessary.
Why? Because of a model in marketing called positioning (a term coined by Al Ries and Jack Trout about 40 years ago). Most people believe the terms ‘branding’ and ‘positioning’ are synonymous. They are not.
Positioning is to branding what an engine is to an automobile. Yes, it’s a component of the whole, but what good would a car with custom leather, power everything and a kickin’ stereo be …without a motor? On the flip side of the analogy, even an ugly junker car with a decent motor will reach its destination.
Marinate long and hard on that concept for your business. It’s vitally important you understand and apply it.
Those who promote branding talk about creating a unique identity …something that’s memorable and evokes emotion, something people will remember. They refer to companies like Apple and Nike as illustrative examples. Aside from failing to mention these companies blow hundreds of millions of dollars a year just to achieve such memorable stature (Apple spends over $40K per DAY on Internet marketing alone, according to SpyFu.com), approaching business from this idea is truly backwards.
Consider: How can a consumer have a memorable experience, positive or negative, if they’ve never done business with you?
Al Ries and Jack Trout explain that we now live in what’s know as an ‘over communicated society.’ Consumers are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day. Most people cannot remember what they had for breakfast, let alone a single advertisement claiming XYZ Company is the best. Each individual must now see your message dozens of times in multiple media to remember it. Yes, ad agencies do love branding.
Here’s the difference between branding and positioning. Branding is ubiquitous. Everyone knows who you are. I know who Ford is, but I’ve never owned a Ford.
Positioning is value. You are the best choice among your competition. You stand out.
Positioning is the reason why so many people and businesses you have never heard of generate multiple millions of dollars in revenue on the Internet in very short periods of time, sometimes almost overnight, literally. The brand is irrelevant.
The purpose of marketing is to get someone to take an action. Simply creating a memorable image, logo or jingle is not enough because memorability is in no way linked to the propensity to buy…just because I remember you doesn’t mean I’ll ever buy from you…especially if I think your competitor is a better choice. This memorable ‘thing’ must be associated with a desire to take an action, such as make a purchase. That desire will only come from your own marketing.
When your potential customer is ready to make a purchase, it will boil down to your positioning tactics that demonstrate why you are the better choice among all the other memorable choices.
Discover what your customers want, then demonstrate your product or service is the better choice for them among the competition. If you’re not 100% sure what they want or what to do to get them to perceive YOU as the better choice …start asking LOTS of questions (they’ll tell you).
Focusing on positioning your business will ultimately develop it into a highly memorable, leading brand all on its own. Focusing on branding your business for mere name recognition will seldom lead to positioning. No doubt, fewer businesses would fail if they applied the principles of positioning, instead of wasting precious dollars on branding methods that simply get their name out there.
Don’t try to be memorable.
Demonstrate why you are the better choice.=========================
Mike Lewitz is an innovative marketer who truly ‘gets’ the mental and emotional buying process of consumers. He’s shown thousands of global business owners proven, cutting-edge marketing methods that bring abundant results. Mike is formerly a Google Certified Advertising Professional and holds two Bachelor’s degrees (business & marketing) and an M.B.A. in Management.
You may freely distribute, copy & share this article with acknowledgment.Tags: Al Ries, branding, business success, Jack Trout, marketing, Mike Lewitz, positioning, small business