Do something different, Stand out

A strong Brand is the most important asset a business can have.  Traditionally branding has been considered a part of marketing startegy, but I consider marketing to be a part of your branding strategy.  Here is a definition of branding that I really like and agree with:

“Branding is about getting people to perceive you as the only solution to their problem” Rob Frankel

So how do you build a brand like this?

Companies like Coca-cola, American express, and the Warehouse, spend literally millions of dollars to be the leaders in their markets.  Advertising is an expensive way to maintain market position and branding.

The better way to become number one is to offer something that no-one else offers, Do something completely different from everybody else. If you are already in business, how can you change your industry, if others are fighting coming change, embrace it and stand up as the first and only.

Seth Godin would call this a purple cow…  Something that is so different from anything else, that it gets noticed.

Do something that others will talk about!

Marketing lessons from the wine industry

How do you stand out from all the wine labels

How do you stand out from all these wine labels

Here in Marlborough it is hard to escape the wine industry, it is a huge part of our regional economy.

I was in the supermarket the other day and run into a friend of mine who has a reasonably young wine label, and it got me thinking…

With supermarket shelves lined with hundreds of brands, how do you make your bottle of wine stand out and reach your customers?

One simple marketing strategy used for years by wineries, big and small, is offering free tastings of their product.   How often have you been asked if you would you like to try a glass of wine in the supermarket?

Here’s why this is a great way to market your brand of wine:

  1. They go to where the customers are – customers are already in the supermarket.  If they are going to buy a bottle of wine, who do they see?  If they like the wine, they can grab a bottle and buy it immediately.
  2. The customer is being offered something for free, no obligation.  Lets be honest, we all like free stuff.
  3. People are creatures of habit – A free tasting is an easy way to try something new.
  4. It takes away the customers fear of buying a bottle of wine and hating it.  They already know what it tastes like before parting with their hard earned cash.

I think it works even better for smaller players in the market.  It gives them a chance to put a face to the brand and start a conversation with the customers.  They can tell a story about their wine and relate it to the customer easier than a sales rep from a large company.

How can you use this idea in your business?

  • What can you offer potential customers for free? Remember, wineries only give away a small taste, not whole bottles of wine.  Can you offer a taste of your product or service?
  • Is there a place your products or services are frequently purchased or used?  Can you have a presence there to meet them?
  • What fears do customers have about purchasing your products or services?  Can you offer a try before you buy deal or a satisfaction guarantee?

photo credit: rick

Hair today, record for tomorrow

Somewhere between my last post, and getting my photo taken, I got thinking about Hair salons.

The trouble I have always had with getting my hair cut, is explaining what I want to the hair dresser.  I can never express how I want it, or even how I have had it before. A few times I have resorted to cutting a picture from a magazine and handing it over – “I want my hair to look like this, as long as it won’t make me look stupid”.

So why don’t Salons take pictures of their clients?  Before and after shots every time they come in, would make it easy to discuss with the client what they liked and what they didn’t.  It would build a tangible history with their clients.  Do you think this would build loyalty from the client when the hairdresser puts that much effort into knowing what they like?

Could be very interesting looking back after a year or two.

How could this idea be used in other businesses?

Why build a brand anyway?

So why spend so much time, effort and money to build a brand?

Its hard not to noticed the price difference between branded products and generic versions when grocery shopping.  Watties tomato sauce for example can be twice the price of a supermarket brand.  I’m not even going to get into whether Watties tastes better.   My point is that the costs for making Watties, or a generic brand of tomato sauce is likely to be much the same.  So the difference in mark-up is one measure of the value of the Watties brand. 

A strong brand adds value to your products or services by differentiating them from your competitors, establishing credibility, gaining trust and therefore customer loyalty.

In fact, back to the Watties sauce example, I have an uncle that left New Zealand almost 15 years ago to live in Oklahoma USA, who still has Watties tomato sauce posted to him by the box…  Now that is brand loyalty!

The great news is that even with well targeted branding and marketing strategies, all businesses can reap the benefits of building a brand.