Zenith Finance Blog

Does a Brand matter?

Just ask Coca Cola or Nike: of course it matters! And it doesn’t ‘matter’ whether you are a suburban physiotherapist or a global food marketer; branding is – increasingly – important.

To deal with the explosion in media, you need to really think about defining the brand and thinking hard about how you create communication that makes connections with the people that matter. George Lois says “think long, write short,” Abraham Lincoln spent a year agonizing over the Gettysburg Address, managing to cut it down to 288 words, Pascal apologized for writing long, Steve Jobs said “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” We’re entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumer is looking to satisfy their needs, d we now have to be there to help them with that.

You use headlines to get attention; if you don’t do that your marketing piece (e.g. the sales copy or brochure content) is a waste of money. Data from Google reveals that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010. That’s nearly double in just one year! This demonstrates just how tough it is for marketers to grab the attention of consumers today.

At the big end of town (read big agencies), repetition is a technique (a.k.a. blunt instrument). The idea is to engrave the brand (its image) into your mind.

Engraving might be fine for Coca Cola but for ordinary folk the Holy Grail is sales and profits. Madison Avenue guru Donald Deustch famously suggested that “creative mediocrity” is the problem and that companies shouldn’t tolerate the garbage that’s being churned out by what he termed “creative retards.” His solution (and one that we agree with) is to have better creative people with more business sense.

Once engaged a prospect needs detailed, quantifiable, specific, inside-reality-revealing information; in other words, moving them to a “logical” sell and a low-risk way to take the next step in the sales process. If you’re a service business; it’s the free trial (subscription) or a free marketing tool such as a report, brochure, seminar, audio, video or something to educate even more to allow the prospect to feel in control of the final decision.

That’s mandatory.