What fascinates one person might not be the same for another, and so on. This is most evident in the consumer market and how brand-driven businesses work.
Often, our level of involvement or personal interest on certain things varies, depending on our own idiosyncrasies and backgrounds. In turn, a lot of different products exist to cater to our growing needs and demands. However, several brands often emerge for the same product or service precisely because we all have our own personal set of consumer criteria.
Some people choose to use Apple’s iPhone, for example, while others are fans of Samsung Galaxy. Both are smartphones and are able to make calls, send messages, and use apps. To the non-user, the difference is minute, but for those belonging to both camps, the nuances are great and vast.
It’s the reality. Great brands will often have its own supporters and naysayers. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one is superior over the other. In the end, it may just really be a matter of preference.
Understanding a consumer’s mindset
When making a purchase, a consumer almost always comes from these two attitudes. There are those who need information before making a decision and those who rely on their feelings. Both traits can exist in one consumer. That’s why we buyers can differentiate what’s an impulsive buy versus one that’s made out of necessity. Businesses and advertisers study both of these approaches carefully, in order to find the best way to attract consumers when selling a product or a service.
In Marty Neumeier’s The Brand Gap, he discusses how these mindsets are further broken down into four, which quite mirrors the left and right side functions of the brain. Consumers who favor logic and hard facts fall under “Appliers,” who are most likely to get jobs in education, law, and business. “Preservers” come from a government or military setting, as well as social service or religious contexts. Both subsets are more drawn towards marketing that’s realistic and representative of what they know.
“Creators,” meanwhile, are in the fields of art, architecture, music and writing. On the other hand, “discoverers” are science, technology, and math people. These consumers pay more attention to abstract or imaginative ideas and are more than likely to be persuaded if businesses appeal to their emotions.
Rational versus emotional marketing
For example, whenever HP comes out with its commercials, they make use of two different tactics. They do this while still maintaining that quirky spirit that we have all come to know and love. This particular TV spot, while very fun to watch, takes some time, in the end, to give out some facts about the product, including the ink used and how long it lasts.
On the other hand, this second ad relies heavily on the viewer’s visceral response. It employs the same style but focuses more on sentiment. Both are effective and would charm different kinds of consumers, depending on what they are looking for, and how receptive they are to an advertiser’s message.
Clay Warren, director of the Communications Program at George Washington University, writes of the second HP ad: “Frenchman Francois Vogel developed a software program that made it seem as though still pictures could be snatched out of thin air. HP spent a record sum of money on this campaign, and the positive feedback was enormous.”
“The focus is on you (ethos is the main premise in persuasion), the evidence (logos premise) that HP digital cams and printers will give you a picture so good it is like looking at the actual person and is simple to use, and (pathos premise) a wonderful feel-good sing-along song accompanied with the feeling of how fun it is to snatch pics out of the air like a wizard,” he adds.
Working on a brand’s visual identity
Whether HP’s advertising was rational or emotional, what is important is that the company is consistent with its graphic cues. It makes the brand easily recognizable and translatable across different cultures and languages. This focus on identity is crucial because HP is battling not just for its consumer’s attention and mind space, but also actual shelf space, where it will sit side-by-side with other products and brands.
Brand-driven businesses ahead of their game give equal attention to creating a visual identity, apart from coming up with marketing strategies. More than design, it is both a presentation and representation of the story they want to tell, and the message they want to convey.
It isn’t just a first impression. A visual identity should aim to carry a brand unfailingly from moment to moment, too. John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, says it more succinctly: “Vision trumps all other senses. If you hear a piece of information, three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent.”
Importance of value propositions
Still, it is not enough for a brand and business to look good. One more thing to keep in mind is finding the value proposition. That is “the magic fit between what you make and why people buy it.” Customers have needs and wants, but they also have doubts. Being convinced to buy something takes a lot more hard work than being dissuaded since we already harbor preconceived notions that we take with us in our everyday activities.
In order to sell, a product must outweigh a consumer’s fears. That can only happen when benefits and features are clearly expressed from the very first customer contact. Together with visual materials, value proposition must answer what a product or service does, how it works, and what it feels like to use or avail of it.
At the heart of it, brand-driven businesses are creating a conversation with their target market. They are telling their potential consumers about what they can bring to them that’s never been done by others before. This is the brand promise—this is the opportunity point where businesses convince the audience that the rewards are greater than the risks.
Investors and brand-driven businesses
Brand-driven businesses are intent on standing out from the crowd and being around for a long time. They know who they are, what makes them different from the rest, and why customers love them. Having these three factors give them a competitive advantage. They are able to plan for the future and anticipate what the market needs.
For investors, brand-driven businesses are serious about growing and making profits. It means that they are interested in the future and the company’s role in it. There is also the ability to build trust, and a capability to diminish any hindrances to making a sale. Finally, it means a dedication to increasing the value of the business, through improved profits and a larger market share.
As Neumeier writes, “Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity. Bottom line: if it’s not innovative, it’s not magic.”
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