A mentor of mine, Larry Vincent, Chief Branding Officer at UTA and author of BRAND REAL and THE FINDINGS REPORT delivered a quote that has become somewhat of a mantra of mine over the years. He said, “Good brand strategies guide mission-critical decisions in capital investment, human resources, research, product development, & operations management”.
So what exactly does all of that mean?
If we dissect the quote, it becomes clear that branding and the strategy behind how you promote your brand and engage your consumers should guide every important decision for your business.
Since there are only so many consumers in the marketplace, brands are constantly jockeying for the most favorable position in the eyes of the consumer. What most don’t know is that there is a science behind brand engagement, and that is the focus of this article.
Brand Identity in the eyes of the consumer, distinguishes your organization, your product, and your service from your rivals. Today’s consumer does their research, they compare you to your rivals in as many ways possible. So to say that your brand is just a name, slogan, or symbol is far from true. Your brand is not who you are to you, it is who you are to your consumers.
Brand Strategy starts by defining your target audience, or more accurately stated, your targeted audience(s). You must understand their implicit and explicit needs, and how your product or service satisfies those needs. Once you have done this, you can better understand what types of messaging to use and how to deliver them to consumers.
Bottom line, building a brand identity and brand strategy that respects and adapts to the behaviors of your consumers is vital to success in today’s marketplace.
The reason that branding matters is that it helps shape consumer perceptions and decision-making behavior. A great brand aligns with a business’s larger marketing strategy and consumers needs. Strong brands cast a vision and communicate the unique value of the brand in a crowded marketplace.
Let’s take some comparative brands; Apple vs Windows, Tesla vs Prius, Jet Blue vs Delta, Chipotle vs Taco Bell. These companies essentially make the same product as their comparative counterpart. So what makes one stand out more than the other?
If I have to explain it to you, then you missed the point entirely. It is not so much the products/services that distinguish one from the other. It is the brand identity and brand strategy that draws in a specific type of consumer to engage with the brand and ultimately become a brand loyalist. This happens as a result of the consumer feeling an intimate connection to the brand because it satisfies some form of want or need on a personal level. It is their experiences with the brand that shape their expectations of the products/services that these companies offer.
So if the experience is good, then the expectation is high. If the experience is poor, watch out, because you often times don’t get a second chance to win a consumer.
Now that we have identified the what and the why, its time to dive into the how. A technique knows as Persuasion Marketing is one of the most impactful means of generating brand loyalty. It applies what we know about human psychology and behavior to market products or services. There are four key elements to the persuasion marketing technique; structured communication, storytelling, copywriting, and neuromarketing.
I will briefly define these to help drive the point home:
Understanding consumer behavior can help shape an organizations brand identity and brand strategy. The marketing tactics utilized should be a direct reflection of the brand, and evoke emotional responses on a subconscious level. By employing persuasion marketing you can then deliver a marketing message that not only resonates with a consumer, but creates a sense of unwavering loyalty, and as a result, you have a customer for life.