I have read an awesome book on branding called “Brand Against the Machine”by John Morgan and for the first time I can honestly say that this is a book that all branding people NEED to read. In the very first chapter the key thesis of the book “the future of branding is marketing with people and not at them .”.
According to Mr Morgan “Branding has hundreds of definitions. Your brand is simply the emotional connection people have with you or your business.
Branding isn’t about market share, it’s about mindshare. Your goal is to position your brand in the mind of the consumer as one of, if not the, top authority in your industry, to be seen as a valued resource rather than another service provider. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith, and perseverance to create a brand.”
The other key point that he makes is that branding is a commitment not a campaign. That needs to be emphasized at a time when too many senior executives believe instant gratification (ROI) takes too long.
Branding can make people pay more for one thing than another similar thing. Branding is what makes me drive past a Kmart while going to Target. Branding is about emotion, and emotion turns prospects into buyers.
Branding is fluid and constant. Branding isn’t a logo or color scheme. It’s not a one-time deal, either.
Branding requires a great deal of patience. Often times the benefits of branding are unseen, but that doesn’t mean they go unnoticed. Your brand works for you or against you, but it always works.
The Six Steps Within Your Branding Framework:
(1) Know your audience, which goes beyond just identifying target market. It’s about knowing what your target market wants. You need to know what frustrates them the most. Your product or service will solve the problem that is frustrating them. You need to know what it is they want. Notice I said what they want, not need. When my son Jack needs to take a bath, he never wants to. People buy what they want, not what they need. You also need to know what they think it will take to solve their problem. If they already have an idea of what the solution may look like, you can be sure your product solves a problem.
(2) Define your position. Branding is all about positioning. It’s not about market share; it’s about being thought of as the only choice in your field. Positioning yourself as the go-to authority in your industry is the goal.
(3) Create a solution. You know what’s bugging your audience. Now it’s time to make sure your product or service is a cure for what ails them. If what you sell isn’t a solution to their problems, then you’re not going to sell very much.
(4) Content. It is your content that will attract people to you and will assist in establishing your authority positioning. By producing high-quality content that your target audience finds valuable, you will attract prospects to you versus trying to track them down and sell to them the old-fashioned way by bombarding them with ad after ad begging them to buy. The key to effective branding is attracting people to you and then building a relationship with them through engagement with your audience. Attract first; then engage. You attract by offering them valuable information. The more you give, the more attractive your brand becomes.
(5) Promotion. This is where most brands get it wrong. Your ability to promote your brand and your products/services will determine how successful you are. Promotion isn’t a one-time thing. You should always have a promotional campaign in motion. The difference between the promotions that the machine pumps out and you is that your campaigns will be content driven. You will be viewed as a welcome guest in their lives rather than an annoying pest.
(6) Over-deliver your value. There is simply too much competition to produce a product or service that just delivers.
The Overall, Mr Morgan’s book is a great read and I highly recommend that marketers don’t only read it, but embrace it and apply its key learnings to their situation. No, it’s not going to be easy, but whoever said anything worthwhile is going to be easy?