Branding, It's All in the Jeans.
By Tim Oestreich |
Wed, 12 Apr 2006
Successful brands are never accidents.
Careful development and nurturing of a company's branding can yield the
ability to sell more and sell it at a better price. Here's a good illustration, what is the difference between a pair of Wrangler? Jeans and pair of Tommy Bahama? Indigo Palms? jeans? One costs $14.94 and the other costs $88.00... guess
which is which! Which product do you think would be more durable, more
stylish, more likely to appear on the cover of a magazine? The reality
is that the difference in materials likely amounts to a few dollars, but
that is not the point. One market segment buys the Wrangler? jeans
based on price, and another market segment buys the Tommy Bahama? jeans
based on style and name recognition. Buying decisions are often made more on an emotional level than on a purely rational basis. When a buyer chooses the Tommy Bahama jeans over the Wranglers it is not based on a point-by-point comparison of features, quality and price. The emotional connection with lifestyle and status is what causes some to spend 600% more for a pair of jeans. Those customers are buying the idea... that's branding. Branding is about presenting the strengths of your company or product in a way that creates a strong emotional connection with your target market. Effective branding will distinguish your product or service from the competition and increase sales.
Sounds good, but where do you begin. This is the first question from many of our branding clients. The answer is to begin with good research. We research variables such as annual industry wide sales, product trends, market demographics etc. Market research allows us to position a brand strategically to reach the most profitable market segment, with the most effective message, at the lowest cost. Every company's products or services are developed to meet a specific need in a particular market. The better you understand your industry and your market, the better you can develop a brand that will produce results. When you develop a clear and accurate profile of your market, every marketing dollar will yield even greater returns.
Many companies have success without a formal branding strategy, but we see client after client that have "made it" only to have outgrown the "do-it-yourself" marketing approach and hit a brick wall with their marketing. These clients are transitioning their companies to a level where they are now competing with larger companies with formidable marketing budgets. Many of their competitors have invested significant time and money into developing and refining their branding and marketing. This situation is very common and leads many companies to spend dollars desperately in an effort to simply "do something" about their marketing. This method usually neglects one of the most important issues, "how does my branding communicate the strengths and value of my company?" The clarity of your branding message will help clarify the approach that your marketing plan should take. Considerations such as which marketing medium to utilize, budgeting, target audience, etc. are defined by the solid research that went into your brand strategy earlier on.
One of the most devestating marketing plans is the "Do-It-Yourself"
approach. This is the client that "tries" different methods until
something produces results quickly. This almost never works and if it
does the results are far from spectacular. Effective marketing is no
accident. Research into industry trends, target audience, and many
other factors are vital to you making informed decisions and not
speculations. Your advertising has to fit your company and your
market, so there is no substitute for real market research and
planning. Before you "take the bull by the horns", it is a good idea
to know how big the "bull" is..
So, back to the jeans. The $88 Tommy Bahama product is probably not 600% better than the $14 Wrangler product, the difference is branding and marketing. The magic is in identifying the right demographic and developing a brand/marketing strategy that appeals to that group and makes them want to buy.