“lacking strong features or characteristics and therefore uninteresting.”
It is fear of being unremarkable that haunts the dreams of marketing professionals around the world. A common problem with average brand management and marcomms however is that this fear translates into solutions that lapse into self idulgent shock tactics, self referencing obsession with wit, and or a narcissistic concern with art and image. All of which result in a disconnected brand purpose.
Helen Edwards writing in Campaign looks at this issue and the ways marketing people can miss the commercial and customer relevance of their ideas. One of the risks of putting intellectual effort into defining a brand purpose is that it ends up being so thematically general it lacks any relevance to the customer’s matter at hand. This in turn means less chance of driving sales.
Edwards cites purpose statements like ‘let’s change the world, let’s serve customers better’ as typical of the Brand Bland.
Stuff like this might produce a high sense of personal or organisational self esteem but does the customer really give a sh£t? Unless these higher ideals are really what the customer is seeking from the solutions they are after how can they possibly influence purchases?
Part of this line of thinking is probably down to values based marketing – that deep mystical version of marketing that claims exceptional insight into what makes the customer really tick. Not all customers are so deep, so abstract, that idealistic. The example that works taking this line is cited as Fairtrade. Now that makes sense the values are explicitly linked to what is sought by the purchaser.
If you’re not careful though focussing on brand purpose is all about you. Your values, your passions, your aspirations and they might have diddly squat to do with the customer’s purchasing as such. In that sense it’s just another version of product rather market orientation.
So how do you avoid a bland brand?
1. Be relevant to the customers matter at hand. Find out what causes the customer to buy in a very direct and immediate sense
2. Don’t confuse customer value and values. Make sure your customers get the thing they directly want for the price they give not some bland aspirational idea.
One way to think through these issues then why not read more in: