Local Brand Advisor Consoles

Whether you realize it or not, every business has a brand. How you develop it is the difference between creating your point of distinction or blending in with the crowd; projecting a positive image or eliciting a negative one; growing your business or merely existing; successfully reaching your target audience or missing the mark altogether. Brand does matter. Those who build their brand and manage it successfully can profit mightily. Here are six principles for creating and building brand as well as real-world examples of why it matters.Find additional information at Local Brand Advisor, Pittsburgh.

Strong brands trigger hot buttons in the consumer. We buy for emotional reasons and then rationalize those purchases. Know what triggers your target audience. For Volvo buyers, it’s safety. In fact, Volvo and safety have become synonymous. Volvo has taken this emotional connection and strategically built its brand around safety. The company’s web site says, “Explore the beauty of safety with 2006 Volvos”. The site even has a “Volvo Saved My Life Club” section with stories of real people who were protected by their Volvos in car accidents. These stories are emotional, but also underscore how the Volvo brand is associated with safety. As a result, the company has developed a very loyal customer base.

Brand isn’t just a smart logo and tagline. These are merely applications of the true brand – a concept that exists in the mind of your consumer. Your brand is an experience for the customer. Nobody delivers this idea better than MasterCard® with their “Priceless” advertising campaign. Although they rely on consumers to purchase items with their MasterCard® credit cards, they know that buyers want to feel good about their purchases. What will make them feel that way? The experience tied to that purchase. “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else there’s MasterCard®.” Although they acknowledge that there are some experiences you can’t buy, they also elude to the fact that there are many more experiences that you can buy. In other words, they make the consumer feel as though MasterCard® can give them the experiences they desire. Experiences are reinforced through the company’s regular promotions in which cardholders can win trips, cars, cash and in a recent promotion, a house.

Know what customers associate with your brand and how to capitalize on it. You know that brand taps into emotion. Since customers buy for emotional reasons, their perceptions color your brand. Take Martha Stewart. She is well aware that living well appeals to consumers on an emotional level. Her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), has branded itself accordingly, stating on the web site that “…Martha Stewart shares the creative principles and practical ideas that have made her America’s most trusted guide to stylish living.”

Even when Martha was charged with insider trading, she continued to reinforce — even capitalize on — the “stylish living” brand from behind bars: making delicious meals in the prison microwave, collecting apples from the prison grounds to make applesauce, entering Christmas decorating contests, etc. In the process, she won the admiration of her fellow inmates and the continued brand loyalty of her customers. The MSLO brand remained strong in spite of the challenges the company faced. Today, it is a nearly $500 million empire with television shows, books, a magazine, house wares merchandised through Kmart, a catalog business and a furniture line with Bernhardt. MSLO has deftly mastered the art of convincing consumers that they can live the good life. Reinforcing, capitalizing and continuing to build on that brand has worked and “it’s a good thing” for MSLO.

Brand is part art, part science. The balance is a delicate one. Creativity strengthens and enlivens brand. But the science of branding is equally important. You can’t build a successful brand without both. You must understand your target audience’s likes and dislikes as well as their hot buttons. A brand campaign can be artistically presented, but if the consumer doesn’t know what you’re selling or can’t identify with it, your campaign has failed. The Disney Company has done a masterful job of creating a brand that blends art and science. Visit the company’s overview section on their web site and you will understand why this approach has created a powerful brand worldwide. “The Walt Disney Company has remained faithful in its commitment to producing unparalleled entertainment experiences based on its rich legacy of quality creative content and exceptional storytelling. Today, Disney is divided into four major business segments: Studio Entertainment, Parks and Resorts, Consumer Products, and Media Networks. Each segment consists of integrated, well-connected businesses that operate in concert to maximize exposure and growth worldwide.”

Careful market research, focus groups, maximizing brand exposure, continual education and advanced technologies are all part of Disney’s brand science. The organization is in tune with what their target audience wants: wholesome, family entertainment in a world of imagination. And, they are constantly measuring, evaluating and adjusting their efforts to maintain this brand. The artistic component of their brand obviously can be found in the creativity and quality of amusement parks, movies, merchandise and media channels (i.e.-television, web, magazines) that have represented the Disney brand since 1923. Together, art and science have built the world’s largest entertainment company.

Contact Info

Local Brand Advisor
100 5th Ave, Suite 110, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 467-0809