What is so special about your brand?

In a previous post I suggested that marketers are facing the reality of declining brand loyalty. This poses the question whether “more sameness” and therefore lack of differentiation is perhaps the primary reason behind the challenge facing brand owners?

In brand marketing journals over many decades we encountered the term Brand Positioning. Considering the difficulty in creating a unique position for your brand, surely Brand Differentiation would be a more effective strategic objective in a world where products in a given category offer very similar features or benefits?

There are hugely successful brands where the vision and character of the founder helped to create something special, an aura that captured the imagination of millions of brand followers right around the world. Two such examples would be Apple and Virgin. Their founders succeeded in creating a cult like following, with Jobs and Branson respectively representing the brand ethos.

However, I sense many brand marketers find it increasingly difficult to articulate what is really special about their brands. In the absence of meaningful product differentiation and therefore strong rational argument in support of the brand, consumers are left in a position where they reduce brands to mere commodity status.

Is it possible that marketers today place far too much emphasis on product features and price rather than communicating the intangible benefits of the brand? In other words, too much logic and not enough magic.

On the bright side I enjoyed reading a piece this week about one of the world’s iconic brands. The author, who does not appear to be a marketer, articulated beautifully what is special and unique about this brand:

  • Confident and courageous
  • Beautiful and innovative
  • Not just following other people’s ideas and creativity
  • Not afraid of what is big and different and original
  • Brave and prepared to make mistakes
  • Not just about technology, but about things harder to define and grasp like authenticity, openness and genuine collaboration.

I was nodding all the way through the article as it accurately captured what I feel about this brand. Ann Mossop was talking about the Sydney Opera House and her experience as the head of public programs.

It also left me wondering whether marketers spend enough time to define and articulate these emotional benefits in their brands. The intangibles that will inspire consumers to embrace your brand beyond form or ingredient or price.


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