Friday, December 28, 2012

Branding is not an objective

As someone who has been a "brand practitioner" for more than twenty five years, there's one thing I've learned.

Branding is bunk.


Because most people get it backwards. They think "if we build an amazing brand, people will love our product." In truth its the other way around.

Build an amazing product and people will fall in love with your brand.

When you think about branding this way, it changes things.

No longer will you build elaborate marketing campaigns designed to create a strong emotional bond between a prospect and your brand (something that's nearly impossible). Instead you'll build marketing campaigns designed to get prospects to try your product (something that's a lot easier).

If your product is good enough people will bond with your brand based on their experience.

No amount of marketing will make people fall in love with a mediocre product.

Does that mean you shouldn't know what your brand stands for? You shouldn't have a concise, consistent promise? You shouldn't tell your story in a unique and differentiating way? You shouldn't weave that into every aspect of your company from customer service to R&D to sales to marketing?

Of course not.

It's just that so many "marketing professionals" have substituted those activities for actual marketing objectives.

Branding is not an objective. It's a strategy.

Your advertising, social media, promotions, PR should be designed to do two things and two things only: encourage people to try your product and get people who have tried your product to buy more.

If anyone at your agency tells you something different, start looking for a new agency.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Toyota plays it perfectly

This, my friends, is what you call spin.

It is making a cloth of gold from strands of frayed wool.

It is what Toyota seemingly does better than any other automaker.

Toyota made two announcements recently. The first, to pay $1.1 billion to settle its unintended acceleration class-action lawsuit. The second, to let the world know that it will regain its crown as the #1 selling automaker in the world this year.

Why announce both at the same time?

I'll let CBS news demonstrate.

The story Toyota wants you to hear makes the headline. The one they don't is buried in paragraph four.

For PR pros, it doesn't get any better than that.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Stating a case for Kentucky

Visit the state of Kentucky's official tourism website and you get this...

A generic invitation to visit a state that has pretty much the same attractions as every other state.

Visit or their Facebook page and you get something a little more interesting, like this video...

So what is Kentucky for Kentucky? A self promotional campaign for the agency that created it (the address on the website is for Lexington ad agency, Bullhorn Creative)? An actual marketing effort by the state to attract younger people? Something else?

I have no idea. What I do know is that it kicks ass compared to most states' generic tourism efforts.