OPINION: PATTON ON ... EFFECTIVE BRANDING

It is an undeniable fact that the way we live our lives is changing apace. It is also an undeniable fact that because of this, today’s consumer is complex. Noisy society is a different beast from the one we have faced in yesteryear. Worryingly, it is not an undeniable fact that the way we market our brands in this new world, against this new target, has changed.

It is an undeniable fact that the way we live our lives is changing

apace. It is also an undeniable fact that because of this, today’s

consumer is complex. Noisy society is a different beast from the one we

have faced in yesteryear. Worryingly, it is not an undeniable fact that

the way we market our brands in this new world, against this new target,

has changed.



Consumers, capable of instantly dissecting a strategy and interrogating

the message for a credible and motivating rationale, are not merely wise

to marketing. They have also had to become wise to life. And with this

come new levels of expectation and, in terms of what impresses them, new

judgment criteria.



Forces far more compelling than marketing challenge consumers daily.



Their safety-nets have been eroded as yesterday’s conventions

disappear.



While this manifested itself in the early 90s in gloom, today’s

consumers have made a virtue out of their situation and are empowered by

choice, control and freedom.



Our ambition must always be to gain an advantage over the competition

and then build consumer awareness of this. Within this, there are two

key challenges. First, getting noticed. Second - a more difficult

challenge - achieving credibility.



But against these challenges - and the emergence of the marketing-savvy

consumer - we are seeing the emergence of a different force: the

consumer-savvy marketer. To stay abreast of change, he or she has

usually completed mountains of research to understand consumers better.

But the result, if not used bravely, is not worth the effort.



Clued-up consumers tell marketers what they expect from a brand. Armed

with this knowledge, the marketer might skilfully execute exactly what

the consumer expects. But in settling for the expected we develop a safe

strategy and fail to meet consumers’ higher judgment criteria.



We ask consumers to be excited by our brands but hope to achieve this by

showing them what they expect. The marketing story works at a certain

level but becomes unremarkable in the real world because, while it is

logical and well researched, it is already yesterday’s news.



It is the responsibility of any brand to understand how it can become

more memorable. The brand must blend three elements. Honesty, or the

ability to tell the truth about what it can offer. Pride, or the ability

to demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm for what it does. And

inspiration, or the ability to provoke a response above and beyond the

normal.



The last element is becoming more vital because we are failing to inject

an interim process whereby we take the known, make it remarkable, and

inject the energy the brand needs to compete in today’s world.



The better brands have always achieved this. Until Apple told the

consumer that computers were not about conforming but about creating,

the market felt ’anoraky’ and establishment. Thus for Apple, the role

for branding has been to target and own the future, a strategy that has

won extraordinary consumer respect.



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