Friday, September 05, 2008

MARKETERS: You're SOLVING the WRONG problems?

Stop! You’re solving the wrong problem!

(A bed time tale) At one time you could create new products based on consumer want and need. Brand relevancy was easy. You were one of a kind. Then the pool of easy-to-see wants and needs dried up. Copy-cats tom, dick and harry converged on the same position doing the same thing with their own new products. Categories got crowded. Unable to better differentiate products, marketers resorted to pre-conceived strategies developed on their own. Boiler plate templates like price value propositions or recipe dissemination. Suddenly directly-connected consumers lost contact with original brands and became distant cousins. Heavily segmented price-driven commodity categories ensued due to self-inflicted wounds that sliced and diced categories until consumers strongly sought price-driven quality brands like Kirkland instead. The once powerful ‘brand’ began trading on price. As new generations of management moved in, consumer’s ability to relate weakened. We had so many things no one could put their finger on what they wanted. Purchases were not reasoned; with plenty of free credit people impulse-purchased even high ticket items. Brand equity sank so low it had to climb up a ladder to get to the bottom. As modern CMOs leveraged ever-proliferating media and networking solutions to reach smaller and smaller audiences to deliver watered down strategies generating only awareness and recognition, finding highly differentiated product-based growth solutions to secure sales took a back seat. But, doing the homework to find highly differentiated growth solutions to stir sincere consumer emotions, perceptions and purchase motivations remained easy. As more brands set up tents in categories crowding out older tenants we retained the original ability to find unique product-based selling solutions that create more space in densely populated neighborhoods. The only difference today, as then, is that the best new answers are so obvious they’re not obvious. They’re abstract, and exert a stronger pull on consumer’s hearts and minds than anything you could imagine. Since the dawn of categories, seeing unique business solutions requires Abstract Creativity®.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Relevance of Brand Relevance

Why is it that people running brands ranked 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th in a category can convince themselves that their brand is relevant. The same might also be asked if you were number two - say Anacin versus Tylenol or Advil. The same might be asked if you were a little brand like E.E. Dickenson's Witch Hazel or Gold Bond Powder. Why wouldn't they like to be a billion dollar brand instead of a couple of hundred million.

I never was one who thought much of that Avis, We try Harder shtick to justify being number two. Avis was just less relevant. Same goes for Adidas versus Nike or Maxwell House versus Folgers or Kraft Mayonnaise versus Hellman's/Best Foods, etc. So who wouldn't want to take that also ran brand and turn it into number one? When I used to run sales competitions first place would get a great prize, third place would get the same great prize and second place got a buck. Why? To drive home the point that no one remembers second place. In terms of relevance - that brand and the ones that followed were somehow wrongfully (or fatally) hitting the target between the eyes.