My ten commandments in Branding
The Brand Flip
- The customers have the power.
Times have changed from the 19 century and the way we see marketing and branding. In the 19 century, marketers were focused on product features in those times. This was a marketplace for tangible goods and functional needs. Decades later, marketers realize features are no more longer what customers want. Instead, they wanted the benefits that those features delivered, the era of functional benefits.
Some decades later, some visionaries have located a higher point of leverage – the differentiated.
“The experience of using our product”, our experience is better than others.
Today’s marketers are fully invested in customers’ experience, features and benefits are still important, but the real Goal is experience is the game and the playing field.
Nowadays, customers want to be in control. They are more educated and more connected. Customers are aware they have a voice, and they can use it.
Technology helps them to get their voice everywhere. One negative comment to a brand or company can cause the end of that brand, but one good comment of one brand and many will follow that brand and even support the brand in good and bad times.
Give the power to your customers.
The old model of the brand was based on the logic of factory management. The company created the brand (through products and advertising), the brand attracted customers, and customers supported the company.
The new brand model is similar, but one important difference is the order of events instead of creating the brand first. The company created the customer (through products and social media) them the customer establishes the brand ( through purchases and advocacy), and the brand sustains the company (through customer loyalty). This model takes into account a profound and truth: a brand is not owned by the company but by the customers who draw meaning from it. Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.
- People are not focused on products but on meaning—the manifesto (what you stand for) gut feeling.
Customers no longer buy brands. They join brands. They want a vote in what gets produced and how it gets delivered. They are willing to roll up their sleeves and help out. They not only promote the brand to their friends but by contributing content and even selling products or services. Many of them know more about the company, its products, ti’s pricing, and its competitor than the CEO and employees do.
According to Accenture, 62% of consumers want companies to stand up for the issues they are passionate about and 66% of consumers think transparency is one of a brand’s most attractive qualities. In addition, as social consciousness has elevated, consumers started caring just as much about the impact of brands as they do about their actual product.
People want to know what? You stand for. They want o know your “manifesto.”
A clear example of this is Patagonia what it means to be purpose-driven. Having always been environmentally conscious, the company keeps leaning further into environmental activism. This is because people want to find meaning behind their products.
Mercedes, Gucci, and Apple have achieved a similar status on par with Rolex’s. These brands have rooted themselves so deeply into the global culture that they have come to represent much more than the products they label; they symbolize wealth, success, style, and quality. Their cultural prominence has made these companies indefatigable kings of their respective domains.
- Customers buy products to build their identity. They share the same values from their brand, which shoots the identity to the word.
(they believe in what I believe) sustainable, save the planet, save the poor, religion.
In the new customer-centric marketplace, the shoe is on the other hoof. “who we are is much less important than “who they are.”
Customer identity, not COMPANY identity, is the secret to building a solid brand.
Artek has always stood for innovation, creating new paths at the intersection of design, architecture, and art. The designers who contribute to the Artek collection embody the company’s radical spirit.
Our initial responsibility efforts were aimed towards environmental responsibility. We thought we could make a bigger impact faster by selecting our materials carefully, reducing the use of harmful chemicals, and discontinuing the use of virgin plastic packaging.
It is not enough to find out who your customers are. You need to help them become the people they want to be. Their identity is shaped by every choice they make and every product they buy.
A brand’s promise implies a promise to customers a guarantee of minimum performance or a certain level of satisfaction. But remember, a promise is only a component of a brand, not the brand itself.
- They hate being sold, but they love to buy.
Customers are more educated, and access to information is more accessible than one hundred years ago. Nowadays is one finder move and you are already comparing prices and checking reviews,
about what people said about those products or services even they want to hear what they said about your company. Customers are not stupid, and they know when they are being sold, and they hate that.
An often-used acronym that has helped marketers to understand this process is AIDA.
Get their ATTENTION, build their INTEREST, create the DESIRE, and have a clear and positive call to ACTION.
If you are getting targeted visitors, you should already have their attention, convince them to stay with you, keep them totally interested while you build the desire that they cannot possibly want to buy anywhere else, and finally tell them what to do clearly.
Storytelling Makes Sales Memorable.
Besides resonating with an audience on a deeper level, storytelling is also an opportunity for you to get creative with your sales pitch and bring some personality to what you are selling.
Think about the kind of sales pitch you’d want to hear: Do you want to listen to a bunch of bland industry-related stats?
Or, would you like to hear about a real-life scenario when the product helped make someone’s life easier or better?
Use case studies or customer testimonials to tell your story.
- They buy into tribes to feel safe and successful.
In his book Tribes, Seth Godin talks about the concept of tribes and how we are connected with more people with brands, and it is because those brands represent us. Those brands shout our values and what we believe.
Harley Davidson is a clear example of why we buy in tribes and how we can feel safe and successful.
Harley Davidson is not a cheap motorbike, and actually, if you want to buy one motorbike, you need to way one month. So why? Why can’t I take one from the sales points and drive home with my new bike?
Well, they build a brand new bike just for you, and they deliver to your home, now you can go outside and ride your motorbike. Harley Davidson clubs are well known around the USA and worldwide. They drive together long distances around the country, share moments and experiences, and trust each other. If someone needs help, they can support and help each other. They are a tribe, and if someone in the tribe advises for a new feature for their bike, they will listen, and 90% will buy. Why? Because they want you to feel secure and safe, they want you with them.
- The Battle is no longer between companies but tribes.
Let’s continue with Harley Davidson but let’s ad Chopper motorbikes, for some people they will choose Harley Davidson, and they can list you hundreds of reasons why you should buy that one, the same thing happens with Chopper users, and they can tell you why not to buy a Harley bike. Well, here is a clear example is not anymore about companies is about what those brands represent for them and why they will go to battle to defend their tribe.
If someone buys one motorbike from the competition, you betray the tribe; you are no longer part of that tribe. It sounds extreme, but it happens.
- The company with the strongest tribe wins.
Here is nothing to be done about how strong the people inside the tribe are and how many muscles they have, nor how big the spears are. Instead, it is about their beliefs and what your brand represents for them.
The members of the tribe will take your message and spread it around the world.
Let’s take the example of Windows and Apple; both companies do the same. They are multinational technology companies that design, develop, and sell consumer electronics, computer software, and online services.
What are the differences? Is it in their Why? Some people will say no is because of their design. The truth is one leads with different values; one leads thinking they can change the world and challenge the status quo, and the other leads with the vision of defeating the other competition.
Apple leads with a great passion for challenging the status quo. They genuinely believe they can change the world. As a result, they created well-designed and easy-to-use products so any creative person can use them.
Microsoft leads in competition with Apple. They believe they can defeat anything Apple can do, and They can do better.
I can tell you one example, the Ipad vs. Microsoft surface. I have used it a couple of times Microsoft surface, and I need to be honest is fantastic; it is the perfect combination of a tablet with the power and speed of a laptop, super easy-to-use programs run fast. You can use it as your daily job laptop, but it is the best tablet if you want to use it as a tablet. All the programs run well for creative people as designers and artist is the best tool.
And still, people buy more iPad than Microsoft Surface.
Why? Because of what the brand represents to them, customers genuinely believe they can change the world using Apple products even the technology of their products is not finished or well developed.
They will buy your products and recommend to others purchase those products that are strong Tribe.
- Tribes are connected through technology.
Internet for sure helps this a lot, and the creation of social media is helping more. Nowadays, tribes are connected in forums, fan groups, social media groups.
The connection with other members of your tribe today is global. For example, you can connect and talk with someone in Africa and China simultaneously. If you understand this, it means your message can be spread 100 times faster.
- Brands need to flow through multiple technologies.
Brands nowadays have the challenge to be seen in different technologies, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, or technologies. Why is this?
Because the tribe wants to be closer to the brand, they want to possess it. So Patagonia is a brand clothing design and app where you can find new clothing and see other people around the world taking amazing pictures wearing Patagonia clothes. And also, this app helps you find the closest store to you, so if you want to go and buy some Patagonia clothes, connect with your Google maps.
- The most successful brands are not static but fluid.
It’s no longer possible for a business to build a monolithic brand on top of a built-to-last strategy. Instead, it has to flip into a new model that can adapt to change and enroll customers on their own terms.
Information flows not only from top to bottom but from bottom to top, side to side, and a hundred other ways all at once.
Brands need to think about changing from solid to liquid-like water. They need to adapt to the new circumstances and to touch everyone and everything in its path. A liquid brand can course forward across platforms, through channels, over boundaries, and into touchpoints. Martin Weigel thinks brands are becoming more like software. Brands can now remember what we like and what we bought. They can anticipate when we need to restock, repurchase, or renew. They can suggest purchases options. They can respond to our service, upgrade, and replacement needs.
Brands need to be adaptive so they flow through our lives. Managers need to build a brand not only one time and is done. Branding is a continuing story told by both the company and its customers. Brading is not a checklist but an endless storyboard.
Brands can no longer afford to be static. They need to grow, spread and flow into new areas. The Clear example of BMW, a brand that creates well-designed cars with powerful engines, is now building electric vehicles.
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.