When we assist new entrepreneurs working on their first businesses, we get copious amounts of questions about marketing and branding. One I want to zero in on is, “What is the connection between marketing and branding?”
According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements at a profit.”
Marketing can be broken down into three steps:
Segmentation – identifying groups of people with similar needs
Targeting – choosing which groups to focus your business efforts on
Positioning – aligning your business to meet the needs of the groups you have chosen.
Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and the Tipping Point, among other great books, shares a wonderful story about how a psychophysicist by the name of Howard Moskowitz changed marketing forever in the US food industry.
Before Howard, there was the perception that there was a “best” version of every food; a best slice of pizza, a best chocolate ice cream. However, through his work with Pepsi and Campbell’s Soup, Howard discovered that there is no “best.” Instead, there are different “bests” to different people.
From this we get clustering – where we create groups based on similar likes and needs. This allowed for what everyone in marketing takes for granted today: segmentation. Without segmentation, effective targeting and positioning would be like trying to navigate a 1600’s era ship without a compass on a foggy day – you simply don’t know what you are aiming for.
Thanks to Howard, we know who to look for, but what about branding…
There is a common saying that your brand is the personality of your business. Stephanie Burns, CEO of Chic CEO, takes this a step further, saying, “I look at it as a marriage between a personality (the initial attraction) and creating a relationship (what keeps us in love).”
This makes sense. People are naturally drawn to personalities they like, be it a person or a company, but what makes it last is the quality of the relationship. Stephanie points out that showing your imperfections and creating traditions are wonderful ways to create lasting relationships. This is because they add dynamism to what is too often a flat interaction, or no interaction at all. Furthermore, this builds trust. A good brand will be recognised for certain qualities that customers can count on finding in all offerings. This creates a positive feeling of familiarity, which in turn cultivates trust.
So what is the connection between marketing and branding? In a nutshell, branding is the part of marketing that is focused on making your business appealing to your target segment through showing your personality, creating great relationships, and building trust with them.
Insight and creativity can be hard to summon on demand, especially in marketing and advertising. That is why there are entire businesses built around doing just that. But how can we find more of both with the same tools we have at hand?
In my last post I mentioned the effect that calligraphy had on Steve Jobs, and consequently computers. Calligraphy and computers… doesn’t sound too complimentary. Or are they?
As a student of history, I loved the wide range of subjects that were embedded in my studies. Politics, economics, psychology, leadership, art, culture, geography, business, law – all were woven together to paint a holistic picture of how events unfolded over the course of time.
This interweaving of subjects is known as cross disciplinary learning, defined as involving two or more academic disciplines. Allow me to share an example of cross disciplinary learning done right, and hopefully provide some interesting points on marketing.
Dan Cobley, former marketing director at Google, gave a brilliant talk about how he learned key truths in marketing from the most unlikely of places, physics. Let’s look at three of his main points.
Physics: The bigger an object is, the more it takes to move it.
Marketing: The bigger a brand, the more it takes to reposition it.
Takeaway: Keep your brands specific to your target audience. This is why large organisations will keep many smaller brands for their various products and offerings. Think Unilever, Coca-Cola, or Procter and Gamble.
Physics: It is impossible to measure a particle, for the very act of measuring has an influence on it.
Marketing: Measuring consumers changes the way they behave.
Takeaway: Measure what people do, not what they say they do. This is why online data is so powerful, it tracks what people are doing, what people say they are doing (online), and can tell the difference.
Physics: You cannot prove a hypothesis, you can only disprove it.
Marketing: You can invest a lot of time and money in a brand, but one stumble can crush it.
Takeaway: Be vigilant in avoiding those big mess-ups. Warren Buffet said the number one rule in investing is never lose money, and rule number two is don’t break rule one. In investing you can lose in a moment what took years to build. The same is true for trust in brands.
So, to generate some insight and creativity, connect what you previously hadn’t bothered to connect. Look at some of your areas of interest. What topics seemed too unrelated to even consider pairing together. Perhaps there are gems of creativity and insight waiting to be discovered.
Link to Dan’s TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_cobley_what_physics_taught_me_about_marketing
I recently read an article in HBR about how storytelling is a great way to explain a business’s purpose. I couldn’t agree more.
To me, purpose is about understanding and aligning a business’s values (who you are and what you stand for) and value (what you do and how it benefits others).
To activate purpose, you need to set a narrative. As with any good story, you need a beginning, middle and end.
You need to tell a personal narrative, focusing on real events in the founder’s life and explaining how these incidents established the personal values that will later link to the values of the organisation.
You then need to connect these values with broader shared values of the audience, clients and employees. You can aim to do this through sharing values, experiences, hopes and aspirations. By doing so, you can create a common narrative.
Once a connection has been established, you then need an urgent call to action for those who want to share the business’s purpose.
A great example of activating purpose can be seen with Kickstarter. They use storytelling as an impactful way of asking people to join their team. Their narrative begins with the founder telling the story of the company. Their website then includes pictures and short descriptions of each company employee. Finally, the narrative finishes with a call to action, asking the reader “Love Kickstarter? You’ll fit right in.”
Although the process of storytelling can seem daunting, it’s a powerful tool that builds passion, motivation and buy-in for the stakeholders of any organisation.
Image: FlickrCC/BY/2.0 Jim Penucci
I know next to nothing about the world of high fashion. However, one show I do watch every year is Burberry. I like the designs, the music. I like the way I feel, even as a viewer, that I’m part of a distinctly British spectacle. In short, I like the branding.
A recent Guardian article explains that, as technology and fashion increasingly become one, brands are finding new ways to engage, personalise and communicate with their consumers. In an era of a universally democratic “open-to-all” fashion, instantaneous purchasing and technological innovation, the “indulgent showcase of designer theatrics,” (that is, the shows) may be falling flat.
Is this why I’m so attracted to the Burberry brand? If so, what exactly is the company doing to adapt to a stagnating environment?
Last week Burberry became the first company to be blessed with its own branded channel on new streaming service Apple Music. An extension of its Burberry Acoustic endeavour that showcases new British musical talent, the move signals the company’s repositioning as a lifestyle brand.
They’ve started giving consumers the option of designing their own clothing exactly the way they like it.
The company have upped their Instagram and Snapchat game in efforts to keep up with millennials. Last week it became the first high fashion brand to premiere its Spring/Summer 2016 collection on Snapchat ahead of its London show.
Popular campaigns starring rising supermodel and teenage-favourite Cara Delevingne signals their commitment to capture the imagination and purse of the millennial demographic. A recent campaign with Delevingne and Kate Moss is a confident blend of the ‘old’ and ‘new’; a transcendence of eras that suggests the timelessness of its brand.
It’s expanded and started selling perfume and cosmetics in addition to their original tailored clothing.
The fashion industry is supposed to be innovative by nature. It forecasts trends, sets the agenda and promotes creativity as well as beauty. Despite this foundation the industry is built upon, however, it holds a self-defeating paradox: fashion resists innovation just as much as it’s promoted.
The turnaround that Burberry has seen in the past 10 years has happened without our questioning of it. The brand’s transformed from a tartan signifier of the working-class to a high-end boutique of £1,000 trench coats. This is all down to its confident, transformative marketing approach. In my opinion, this is why Burberry are innovators.
Ghost writers are essentially writers for hire. They are paid by the named author to write copy but take no credit for the work produced. Books, blogs and social media are all examples of platforms that a ghost writer may be hired to write high quality copy for. According to Ebyline, 80% of published books are ghost written.
As the Washington Post reminds us, ghostwriters have channeled the thoughts of politicians, celebrities and business leaders with little or no credit since the 17th century. Those who hire a ghost writer usually do so because they have neither the time or desire to write. It’s a ghostwriters role to help them convey both the meaning and message of whatever subject is of importance to them.
However, a reader must be convinced that the author has written the copy themselves. Failure to capture the persona effectively can be damaging to the author’s career. Vlogger Zoella’s book ‘Girl Online’ presents as perfect example of ghost writing gone wrong. After failing to capture Zoella’s online identity, readers and journalists hounded the Vlogger on Twitter until she eventually admitted to using a ghost-writer. The scandal forced her to ‘quit the internet’ leaving her 4 million followers behind.
Here are my three tips for successfully ghost writing an online persona:
Who are you writing about?
One of my authors, “X”, is a very successful 62 year old male entrepreneur. I am a 21 year old female graduate who loves a good use of an emoji. Needless to say we have completely different interest, opinions and ways of expressing our thoughts. Understanding the author’s tone of voice is crucial at this stage. If possible, ask to spend time in a meeting where the author will be talking and engaging with others. From this you can begin to analyse their sentence structure, thought processes and expressions.
Understand the purpose.
Whether you’re writing a book, blog or speech you must understand the purpose of the project. For “X” the purpose was to raise the entrepreneur’s profile in order to become a thought leader. For this to be successful, there should always be at least 3 main topics to write around. We sat down with “X” and entrepreneurship, leadership and growth were the topics that were most suitable. I have the general knowledge to write across these three topics, but general knowledge will not convey the appeal of a thought leader. I had to immerse myself in the world of entrepreneurship, leadership and growth in order to not only report on news, but to also have a strategic point of view.
On a visit to “X’s” offices we had overheard his staff talking about their boss’ great new social media page, that was the moment I realised that I had the tone of voice and topics right. People who interact with “X” all day were not aware that a ghost writer was responsible for the content or activity. It wasn’t an overnight process, we went through vigorous trial and error testing for content, sentence structure and opinion.
The real reward for ghost writers comes in the form of successfully remaining unknown to readers.
Image: Flickr CC/BY/2.0 JulienDft_Photo