Whether you’re a start up working out of your garage, or an established multi-million dollar organization, there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with potential customers. With the popularity of the Internet, and social networking, it’s easy for your company to get lost in the crowd. With the advantages technology has brought over the years, it also created a marketplace where brand loyalty has lost its appeal. The reality is, we’re dealing with a different breed of consumer. In this article, I will highlight 6 reasons why brands today are not standing out in the marketplace.
Pay attention to consumers Brands are worn out from overuse
Michael Eisner of the Walt Disney Co. has called the word brand “overused, sterile, and unimaginative.” As opposed to re-writing the brand manual over and over again just to increase its unnecessary content, focus on the most important thing, the consumer. They don’t care whether the flowers in the reception office conform to the brand guidelines. If that’s the most important thing, then you know you’re in trouble. Consumers are who you should be paying attention to. What matters to them is of utmost importance. If you’re not focusing on that, you’re hiding, and you’re in trouble.
Stay true to the consumer, always. Brands lack mystery
There is much more consumer awareness, more consumers who understand how brands work, and how brands are intended to work on them. There’s nowhere to hide anymore. As I mentioned before, with the information age, brands have become a part of the public domain. Hidden agendas, subliminal messages, and tricky moves are no more. For most, it’s the new age of consumer savvy. The focus needs to be on staying true to the consumer, always!
Create an emotional connection. Brands have been captured by formula
The want to-be science of brands is ultimately one of the biggest separators of companies, and their consumers. The definitions, charts, tables and graphs, too many people are following the same rulebook. Branding is all about creating an emotional connection with the consumer, and formulas don’t deal with human emotion. When everybody tries to be different in the same way, no one get’s anywhere. Formulas have no imagination, no empathy. Remember, human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason. The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions. Very few consumers make decisions purely on facts. The vast majority consumes and shops with emotions. They look for rational reason of what the product does, and why it’s a superior choice. They then make an emotional decision.
Take chances. Brands have been smothered by creeping conservatism
In the past, brands were daring and inspirational. Now they are more cautious and avoid risk. At one point brands were bold and brave, now they are relying on the accumulation of past experiences as opposed to the potential of future ones. The brands that are successful today alter thinking. Think of the antics of Richard Branson of Virgin. If his antics cause a riot, how bland and boring has everyone else become? Playing safe, and repeating history will only net you the same results. Growing and innovating involves taking chances without the safety net.
Well informed & more critical. Brands can’t understand the new consumer
The white suburban housewife who for decades seemed to buy all the soap powder no longer exists. The new consumer is well informed, more critical, less loyal, and harder to read. Brands that aren’t constantly focusing their attention on how to capture their consumers attention, will ultimately fail to produce loyalty amongst its customer base.
Be number one or forget it. Brands struggle with competition
The more brands invented, the less individuals notice them. If you’re not number one or two, you might as well forget it. The greater number of brands, the thinner resources become promoting them. When talking to clients about their presence online, it’s become increasingly important that we talk about the quality of client’s web site, and their SEO. More often than not, a potential customer will visit your website before they contact you, or visit your business. Are you making a great first impression? If you’re not on the first page of Google, then you’ve got a lot of missed opportunity. A well laid out web design; with excellent SEO is what’s going to separate you from the pack.