BUILDING STRONG BRAND IDENTITY AND AWARENESS
The foundation for all good brand-building
Consistent clear positioning is essential in building strong brand identity, a positioning that has depth and texture that is neither ambiguous nor general, so that it does not inadvertently send conflicting or confusing messages to consumers
A single-minded vision of a brand’s identity is essential, or else it can end up drifting and becoming indistinguishable. And the moment that brand identity becomes blurred, the product identity begins to fade, the advertising becomes invisible, and the brand can sink into oblivion.
Mass-media advertising is the cornerstone of a brand-building effort, as it maintains top-of-mind awareness around your brand.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Brands must have a USP that is meaningful to the consumer. Being unique means being differentiated. Differentiation is the difference between life and death. It’s what creates brand loyalty. Otherwise, you’re nothing more than a commodity. All too often. products fall down in differentiation department, so either differentiate or die.
Must grab the viewer’s attention in the first 2-3 seconds, opening with fire, a strong motivational lever or creative hook. You need stopping power that contains an emotional bullet, so you can bond with your viewer or listener.
Building personality means communicating messages that are meaningful to consumers, offering a meaningful promise of believable benefit and conveying only one selling point, quickly and simply, and talking to the consumer in a single-minded way.
Strong brand identification
Whether in television or digital video, in terrestrial radio, or streaming images, ensuring that you have strong brand identification. Sounds obvious, but study digital video ads and see how many “product” mentions or product logo shots you see. Most advertising is so abstract or subtle, you’d think the advertiser is trying to conceal what they’re advertising or promoting. Don’t be subtle.
Don’t be clever or funny
Many ads dispense with the sales pitch and don’t talk to product quality, but rather offer up a 15 or 30 second comedy routine. We don’t aim to have the consumer say, 'That's a hell of an ad, but 'That's a hell of a product, I want one of those.” To recall the ad, that’s one thing, but the product, that’s another. There’s an expression in the ad business:
If you have a story to tell, tell it.
If you have nothing to say, sing it.
Without a story, they compensate by investing in high-end commercial production, fancy backgrounds, and end up entertaining…But entertainment is for the movies, not for building brand identity and awareness. Being persuasive means being informative, long on content.
Must have adequate marketing budget
More often than not, dollars are wasted in advertising by underspending rather than by overspending.
Consistently investing in advertising and new product development allowed us to maintain our brands’ relevance and sustainable price premium over the competition, and raises the ante for private-label imitators who are constantly forced to play catch-up. However, product improvements and line extensions have to be carefully and wisely focused and well-managed, so that the brand’s core promise is never compromised, is an imperative.
BUILDING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
The consumer is interested in only one thing, What's in it for me?
The way to strike a responsive chord with consumers is to talk to their needs and wants. Most messaging doesn’t.
Reading every consumer letter
As the CEO, more important than reading the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Cash Report, were the consumer letters. I have read every consumer letter we have ever received--thousands a week.
And there is nothing more beautiful than an excited, passionate consumer.
Our consumers taught us how to connect with them, how to shape, and therefore improve, our creative advertising, the products to develop in the future, how they were using our products, their needs and wants, where other products fell short in addressing those needs, so we knew how to plan our new product development, their needs and wants, their likes and dislikes, why, when and how they use our products, their intent to repurchase, other products they are using in addition to ours, what they want to see from us in the future, and so much more.
Our philosophy is living proof of the old adage,
"If you want to know how to sell a consumer, ask him."
After we read their letters, we would contact them, ask to interview them and listen to what they have to say.
Then we ask them to be in our commercials, to talk to other consumers.
Their passion, their description of the problem, no one is more believable than real people. They tell it like it is.
"The way that guy described that itching, itching, itching, in between the toes…that’s me.”
The best copywriters, if they have never suffered the severe pain of foot itch, how can they possibly connect with those who suffer?
Our consumers hear the commercial and they say: That's me!
That clinches the sale, because it clinches the soul, because consumers’ stories are memorable, and they inspire.
They just tell it like it is.
When our consumers speak, we let them tell other prospective consumers.
What constituted the old form of consumer research is today’s social media.
The question I would always ask myself is this:
Would you buy from you?
DOMINANT SHARE OF VOICE (SOV)
Our whole philosophy is about investing heavily in advertising so that we are always, every, single day, top of mind with our consumer. Advertising and marketing is a competition for consumers’ attention, to stand out and be heard.
Standing out amidst all of the noise, means outspending the competition in advertising.
Whether you are competing for the hearts and minds of consumers at the retail shelf, or of donors, to support a worthy cause, top of mind awareness is directly correlated to the investment in messaging to reach a target audience.
The competition is vying for mind share.
With every brand we have ever owned, we were the largest advertiser in the category. Without a dominant share of voice, we would not remain top of mind.
For the 15 years we owned Ovaltine, our messaging was heard 365 days a year, and we had a dominant share of advertising voice, outspending Nestle Nesquik 2:1, and outspending the entire category of Nestle, Hershey’s Syrup, Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa and Nestle Hot Cocoa combined!
Frequency of Advertising is the Holy Grail!