Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The all-important brand positioning.

The key to your marketing success is in the positioning. Position is that one descriptive sentence or slogan the company is known for. It’s that one specific idea that first comes to mind about the product. It’s the one characteristic that sets the service apart from competitors.

For Volvo that one thing is "Safety."

Nike is “Just do it”

And everyone knows Ford Trucks is “Built Ford Tough”

The first step is to identify one specific attribute that sets the company, product, service or brand apart from competitors.
Just because a competitor could possibly say the same thing doesn't mean you should not use it. The first to plant their flag claims the mountain.

While positioning is how you want to be known, it must reflect reality. How the company is known and perceived. Or how it can believably be known.

Example: The way people really think about Starbucks is "Great taste, but more expensive." (most people anyway)
So you might position them with a slogan that says, "The taste is worth it." You could even build a campaign around that idea.

Your positioning statement should reflect the way people really think -- using simple language real people really use.
Lay's potato chips had a campaign using the line, "Bet you can’t eat just one." The idea is to position Lay's chips as a great tasting potato chip. It works well because that expression was not associated with another product.
Ready to position your company, product or service? Try this:

Step 1: Make a list of your significant competitors and write a sentence defining their position in the market.
Step 2: Next define the current position of your company, product or service, as it really exists in the minds of consumers. Keep it real.
Step 3: Now identify a specific attribute about your product that can differentiate it from the competition in a way that some consumers will find desirable.

Don’t stop at just one. Come up with as many as you can. Then pick the best, and if one doesn’t stand out as best, then test several.

It's ok if that one thing only appeals to a partial segment, even a small segment, of your customers. It's better to be specific than general. So don't try to be all things to all people all at once.
It must be simple. A word or two is great.

If it's obvious, that's fine. If the company is the global leader in widget production, say so. People like to go with number one, thinking it must be the best value.

- Genius is in simplicity and specificity. Success is in consistency.

And you must express the position in a way that people find genuine.
Some examples.

Forget anything like, "The innovative leader in banking services, financial products and convenient technology."
People just don’t think that way. They don't use those kinds of words when thinking to themselves. So a complex phrase like that won't stick in their minds.

Here's something more layman: "TD, making banking more comfortable."
Another loser could be something like this, "White Sands Resort is the fun place for the whole family to enjoy a wide variety of amenities, great cuisine and create lasting memories in one breath-taking location."
That's way too much. Who is going to keep a phrase like that in their head?
A better one might be, "White Sands Resort, home of family fun."

Keep it simple. Succinct. And see if your positioning statement passes this checklist:
* Is it true?
* Is it easy to understand?
* Does it differentiate the product in an attractive manner from the competition?
* Is it expressed the way people will express it in their own minds, their own words?

The biggest obstacles you will encounter attempting to effectively position a product/service is the desire to generalize, complicate, and change.

You'll hear clients say, "Yes, but our toothpaste does fight cavities and it does brighten teeth and it does keep your breath fresh and it does help prevent gum disease. It does all those things."
Yeah, Mr. Client, but if you try to position your product that way you will be none of those things. That's because people don't think that way. Just like you, they position products with one idea. So brighten smiles. Or freshen breath. Or keep gums healthy. But don't try to do all three at the same time.

When and if you have a strong position, don’t change it. It takes courage to admit, "I don't have a better idea." And every new agency, every new brand manager feels they have to improve on what has been done before.
The most successful positioning statements are simple to understand and repeated year after year after year.

People remember with repetition.

People remember with repetition.

People remember with repetition.

Positioning is one of, and perhaps the most important elements in a marketing plan.
No matter if it’s a print ad of a safety pin in the shape of a car or sonogram of a child in the mother's womb, Volvo stands for safety. It’s a theme that is the focus in the majority of their advertising. It’s simple, clear and memorable.

So try to find your positioning and you’ll be well on your way to greatness.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Creativity is the magic potion

With the onset of so many numerous ways to reach consumers now the importance on content is more crucial than ever. This isn't new. In fact, unless you and your company have been under a rock for the last couple years this is the mantra of most that provide any form of advertising services. But what does having great content really mean? Everyone has an opinion and in most cases they are all right because content is a subjective element to the majority of people. What one person considers relevant content isn't what others might. But as a brand you should be more concerned with what your core target considers relevant content. Your content needs to be so much more than just relevant. It needs to be CREATIVE. That's right, the magical ingredient, the secret elixir that isn't really that much of a secret.
Some companies might disagree with this. Those companies are wrong. Look at any advertising effort whether it be a social media tactic, a tv spot, a billboard, a mobile effort and you will notice that the most creative executions are the ones that people engage with the most. Not convinced? Take a look at the best job in the world campaign done by Australia Tourism, this made social waves around the world with an alarming response rate and tens of thousands of dollars in free media. Why? Because it had a creative idea in it. Not that it was pumped full of SEO or that it had wads of research done to it but because it was creative. If you were to take out the creative idea, the main creative insight out of this campaign it would have failed horribly.
Here is another creative effort, this one is for Google Chrome Speed Test. It's simple yet creative. And with over a million views it's highly effective.
And yet another creative example is the Toyota Sienna van spots that launched on Youtube. (One little caveat here, if you are of the mindset that producing a video for Youtube is cheaper than say a TV commercial think again. If you want to produce high quality video you will pay about the same for production regardless where it ends up.)

But this is a great creative spot. Obviously their mission is to debunk the stigma of vans being unattractive and uncool. I think it's a funny spot that is strategically solid.

So how important is creative to your advertising or marketing efforts. IT's Vital!

So the next time you are about to promote your brand ask yourself this one question, is it creative?

Stay classy kids and keep your creative juices flowing.