The brand is the key component of any sales strategy. It is the packaging that companies use to distinguish their product from a competitor’s.
Apple is a brand. So is Amazon. And Chevrolet. Each brand has its own loyal customer base, AND each brand has its own competitive territory. Apple is a tech company, but it’s also a lifestyle company. Amazon is a seller of goods, AND a distributor of video content. Chevrolet is a car. Or a truck. There are many other vehicle brands out there, but Chevrolet has a certain cache among Chevrolet owners – so much so that they will continue to buy Chevrolets even though other brands provide more horsepower, or more comfort, or more towing capacity.
Marketers spend billions of dollars appealing to THREE types of customers:
- 1) the brand loyal customer
- 2) the customer whose loyalty to another brand is wavering
- 3) the customer who is new to the market
Why is Branding Important?
The most successful companies understand their brand, and how to effectively manage the brand’s story, image, and appeal. Apple is a good example. After losing the PC wars to Microsoft, Apple was in dangerous territory, teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and a likely takeover target. In 1997, Apple had an installed base somewhere near 9% of the market. Windows boxes controlled 85% of the market, with a small percentage split among several other competing PC competitors. Today, Apple is a giant, generating more than $200 billion a year and with a market cap of nearly a trillion dollars. How did this happen?
Without a doubt, the single biggest factor was changing how the BRAND appealed to customers. In 1992, Apple products were more expensive, rather banal, and above all, somewhat clunky and unreliable. Today, while the product lines remain more expensive than their counterparts, they are equally reliable. They are innovative. And above all, they are stylish. That last characteristic is KEY to understanding how the brand now operates. Apple is not a technology company. It’s a lifestyle company. How else do you explain people trading in perfectly serviceable iPhone 8s for the new $1k iPhone 10?
Why You Need a Brand Strategy
There’s an old adage in sales, “you can make a living selling something that people need, but you can make a fortune selling something people want.” THAT is the key to Apple’s success.
And that’s the key to your success. As a marketer, you want to create a “want” in customers. For some products, it’s easier than others. Apple has a large, loyal, and hip and trendy customer base. This, in and of itself is enough to bring in new consumers.
But what if you sell commodity goods? Well, again, it comes down to what people “want”. Charmin grabbed a large market share by convincing people its product offered more comfort than competitors. Bounty grabbed market share by convincing people their product was more absorbent. And Chevron introduced “Techron” into their marketing, suggesting that their gasoline was better for cars than Shell’s. Or Valero’s. Or BP’s. It’s not crucial that there be an actual difference, only that the customer PERCEIVES the difference. And that’s BRAND’s role.
The difficulty for marketers is finding a message that works. Just saying your product is “hip” isn’t enough. Taylor Swift using your product while working out is better. That’s endorsement. (Apple Music) Just saying your product tastes better isn’t enough. Blind side-by-side competition is better. That’s taste testing. (The Cola Wars) Just saying your pickup is more powerful isn’t enough. Showing your pickup out-accelerating the competition is better. That’s comparison.(The Chevy Truck Challenge) Simply put, BRAND is the tool you use to sell your product to consumers. It has to appeal to current customers. It has to appeal to new customers. Or a perceived need. Or benefit. But most importantly, it has to create a want.
Build Your Brand
Camp Creative can partner with you to analyze how your brand is perceived and help you build the best relationship you can with your target market. We will help you vividly convey your message and build trust and loyalty with your customers. Let’s get to work.
YouTube recently asked Camp Creative to help them encourage more people in the Middle East and North Africa to become YouTube creators. Working with YouTube, we chose to record their messages locally, edit them here in San Francisco where their key marketing people were based, then distribute them internationally. The messages were recorded in Arabic and distributed with subtitles and second channel audio. This was true native language marketing.You can view the complete series of Creator Journeys: Stories From Around the World here.
Uncovering A Marketing Strategy
A guiding principle of our targeted marketing approach is reaching customers in a voice and manner that feels comfortable. Familiar. Friendly. As consumers, we’re inundated by calls for our attention, and we’ve conditioned ourselves to tune out messages that have no interest.
When Charles Schwab began operating in South Florida, they recognized the potential buying power of the Latino market. To tap into this market, they began translating many of their communications tools: brochures, radio spots, broadcast spots, into Spanish. This form of localization was a common component of integrated marketing plans in other Latino markets, and it made sense to employ this same technique in Miami. But the response to their initial efforts did not match the response they had seen in other Latino markets, so Schwab set about trying to determine why.
As it turns out, the reason was as simple as culture. There are many different Latino cultures in the US. Ranging from Mexico to Panama and Chile to Argentina, Latin America is culturally, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse. In some cities, the dominance of a certain culture, say Mexican culture in Los Angeles, spills over, to the extent that people from other similar cultures are also sensitive to the language and custom of the predominant group. So while somebody might be of Nicaraguan descent, they are STILL Los Angelenos, and will understand and respond to advertising targeting them as part of a broad audience.
But in South Florida, this is not the case. Many of the people in South Florida identify strongly with their own culture, to the exclusion of all others. Without getting too deep into a specific discussion of Miami cultures, let’s just say that Colombians are different from Venezuelans, who are different from Puerto Ricans who are different from Cubans.
Schwab found the Cuban market particularly enticing since Cubans had traditionally made use of investment vehicles such as IRAs and Individual trading accounts. To reach this market, Schwab hired a Cuban agency whose primary practice area was retail for the Cuban market. This agency crafted a message, wrote scripts for radio and TV, and above all, provided the media planning guidance insure an efficient and economical media spend.
There were several key differences between Cuban and other Latino markets. For one thing, Cubans tend NOT to watch TV commercials, but rather, listen to them. This means that any compelling message should be spoken and not shown on the screen. Second, because of Cuba’s political history, the dialect spoken by the actor is critical. Certain dialects carry a certain stigma, and only a native Cuban speaker would be able to differentiate the subtleties. And third, Cubans treat commercial breaks differently, depending upon the program they’re watching. They will sit through telenovelas as though they’re in a theater but will get up constantly during news programs. This means having your ad running during the six o’clock news is nowhere near as fruitful as having it run during Pasión de Gavilanes.
What Brand Marketing Strategy Works Best For New Markets?
These days, there is more localization and niche marketing taking place on internet and web platforms. One key reason is that the metrics are easier to track. For traditional broadcast media, it isn’t always possible to link dollars spent with sales for a variety of reasons. However, the power of broadcast advertising outweighs its relative lack of specificity. For people who desire a more efficient cost per impression, the web is a perfect place for it offers not only very specific stratification but also tremendous geographic reach. An advertiser whose product has limited appeal locally but broad appeal across geographies might be more inclined to use targeted web advertising rather than traditional media. The same can be said for reaching an audience that’s wide but thin.
And just as with the South Florida market, the Arabic language market is comprised of many different cultures with many different customs. Care was taken to ensure the message was both culturally sensitive as well as properly targeted. With 4.3 Million views, the metrics point to content that is resonating.
The potential to target customers in specific demographics is greater now than it’s ever been. But unlike traditional marketing, targeted marketing requires greater insight into the customs, habits, and customs of the target market. Ineffective messaging can result in lost dollars, but insensitive marketing can injure a brand. When targeting specific groups and specific cultures, it makes sense to employ people who specialize in those markets.