Branding and How to Attract Your Customers
Brand building has been going on for decades now, and we’ve all been overwhelmed at some point by having the world’s largest brands shoved down our throats.
For a long time now, it’s been: “Get your brand in front of them EARLY and OFTEN!” While I don’t disagree with the strategy, I think consumers are tired, and nowadays, it can turn people off – frankly, it can do more harm than good.
The consumer mindset has changed. People have gotten smart and see through some of the tried-and-true tactics in the ad/marketing/sales world. So how do we do it? How do we get brands in front of the people willing to buy? How do we get to the top of their minds when they are considering making a purchase? Great question.
Now, I’m not one to disagree with someone like Steve Jobs – at least not frequently. But I’ll pick on his quote, “Customers don’t know what they want until we show them.” To me, the approach of “tell them what they want, and they will buy it” worked for Apple and maybe only Apple.
But what about for brands that sell similar products to everyone else in their category? What about selling to the customer looking for the best running shoes with no brand in mind? They have a million options and Google at their fingertips. Simply putting your product in front of them and telling them they need it won’t do the trick anymore. It looks like this:
Customer: I need new running shoes.
Brand: Buy ours! They have foam and…laces!
Customer: Yes. So does (insert any other shoe brand). Why should I buy from you?
Brand: …ah…because ours are better!
Customer: That’s what (insert any other brand) said.
Brand: …ah… want free shipping?
(Spoiler alert: shoving product features and benefits (F&Bs) at people doesn’t work anymore.)
Now, don’t take this as F&Bs aren’t important. They are, and they have a place in the buyer journey. But today’s customer wants more – more from the product and more from the brand.
That’s why to me, it’s less about telling the customer what they need and why they need it. The challenge for brands today is to answer this: You can get this anywhere, but here is why you should buy it from US.
How many brands have you seen answer the “Why Us” question without giving a laundry list of all the product details? How often do you see a brand authentically lead with emotional benefits while saving the functional benefits for later?
Pretty hard, right? I’ll give you one. Patagonia. Honestly, I have no clue how or why this thin little jacket I’m wearing keeps me warm, and I really don’t care. But I can tell you what they stand for and why I am proud to purchase from them. I could have gone with a Columbia for half the price and still be pretty warm. The brand got me on an emotional level. They answered the question – you could get this type of product from a bunch of other brands, but here is why you should get it from us. And it’s working.
So brands, my advice is this: Yes, I realize you didn’t ask for advice from some no-name strategist from Denver, but I’m going to give it to you anyway…hell, you read this far!
Put your product fact sheets away.
Stop asking your Product Managers for “more things to talk about.”
Stop shoving your product down the consumer’s throat until they put you on their “Do not buy from them” list.
Uncover what you stand for.
Answer this: If I couldn’t use one product detail, why would people buy from us?
Dig deep. Ask around. Find what you believe in, and then keep digging. In the end, you just might find the SOUL of your brand. Then and only then will you sell a shit load more to today’s consumer.