“A brand is something that won’t come off in the wash.” - Cowboy’s adage
Now that we’ve driven the B word into a box, let’s look inside that box.
Charles Revson, who founded and built Revlon, is often quoted as saying: “In the factory we make cosmetics, but in the drugstore we sell hope.” In other words, companies and products build intellectual relationships while brands build emotional relationships. Consumers buy products but become emotionally invested in brands. Put yet another way, once consumers are emotionally vested, you have a brand.
Let’s remind ourselves once again: A brand is a marketplace response, not a marketer’s stimulus. You can’t brand something. You can only position it:
-If you manage to create a position that is compelling, different and competitively advantageous, you’re off to a good start
-If your organization has the ability to consistently execute that position, you have a shot at becoming a successful brand
-If that position can stand the test of time, you have a shot at becoming a strong brand
-If that execution stays on strategy, is simple yet powerful, and is somehow kept fresh and surprising over time, you have a shot at becoming a great brand
-If you can do all of this better than your competition, your brand will win
Those are a lot of “ifs,” but no one said this marketing thing is easy- and at the very start of that chain of “ifs” Â is the notion of the right positioning. So how do you know if you’ve found the right position?
You know you’ve found the right position when your position is built around a single idea that:
-Is highly differentiated
-Creates competitive advantage
-Guides and inspires your organization and your audience
-Is sustainable over time
-Is provocative, even disruptive to the marketplace status quo
-Can be consistently executed over time, but in ways that evolve and stay fresh
That’s a daunting list and few companies pull it off, which is why we all tend to use the same limited set of case studies (e.g. Apple, Nike, ESPN, Google, Starbucks). Marketing is positioning. Great marketing is positioning that fits all these criteria (and probably a few others I haven’t articulated). Great marketing is the exception rather than the rule.
And you will need to work your but off to become that exception.
Stay tuned next week when Austin explains how Great Brands are Built from the Inside, out.