Branding is a process by which ‘IMPRESSIONS ARE BURNED INTO FLESH’

Brands are an ever present part of our lives- from the clothes we wear to the food we eat; from the toys or children play with to the drinks we consume; from our mobile phones to our cigarettes.We read about brands on our carefully branded newspapers.

In this new era, brands are driven by consumers. They are psychological, as well as physical. ‘ Brands are about  hearts and minds.’ ‘A brand is a promise, and, in the end, you have to keep your promises. A product is the artifact of the truth of a promise. Selling is believing . More importantly, people buy what they trust and believe in, and are prepared to pay a premium price for it. In the end, branding works because belief sells.

Therefore it makes sense to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.

The objectives that a good brand will achieve include the delivers the message clearly, confirms your credibility, connects your target prospects emotionally, motivates the buyer, concretes user loyalty.

Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.

But everyday, we are bombarded with thousand of messages about such brands. Brand  advertising and promotion surrounds us and colors our world. It is there when we flip through a magazine, when we listen to the radio in the car, when we walk down a city street, when we sit at our computers. Messages about brands penetrate our thoughts and, marketers hope, influence our buying decisions.

This brand overload are becoming too much for consumers to handle.With so many brands to consider, and so many messages to process, consumers glaze over.Nothing gets through, nothing stands out. Brand proliferation is running rampant. That’s why smart brand marketers must use a new arsenal of strategies and tactics such as breakaway brands, breakaway campaigns, packaging, products etc because at time when consumers desire and demand drives marketing, brand positioning can determine product adoption and success.

Positioning the Brand

Sure, you want your product to give people a good experience. Without that, most marketing programs are certain to fail. But beyond a good experience is the need to position the brand in the mind of the prospect.

What really is brand positioning? A brand’s position is the set of perceptions, impressions, ideas and feelings that consumers have for the product compared with competing products. Marketers plan positions that give their products the greatest advantage in selected target markets, and they design marketing mixes to create these planned positions.

Brand Positioning Basics

Positioning is something (perception) that happens in the minds of the target market.

In marketing, positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization. Re-positioning involves changing the identity of a product, relative to the identity of competing products, in the collective minds of the target market.

De-positioning involves attempting to change the identity of competing products, relative to the identity of your own product, in the collective minds of the target market.

CASESTUDY: FEDERAL EXPRESS (FEDEX)

On 17 April 1993, 14 small aircraft took off from memphis International airport, carrying some 186 packages.On that night, an idea for an express delivery business started life as a yale term paper became a reality called federal Express.”Don’t just send it, FedEx it,’ is a slogan that millions of customers have taken to heart since the company arrived on the delivery scene.            FedEx was started in 1971 when founder Fred Smith bought two Falcon jets for $3.6 million. Smith’s business was launched with the apparently brash promise of ‘guaranteed overnight delivery.

What did Fedex do right?

In the early 70’s, CEO smith decided to narrow its focus to overnight delivery only,’when it absolutely positively has to be there overnight”. Today Federal Express has become the generic term for overnight delivery.

“FedEx this package to the Coast” what word does Federal Express own in the Mind? “Overnight” of course.

FedEx streamlined its focus using breakaway campaigns and positioning by becoming the first company to offer overnight delivery in the US. As a result of its high price and flashy packaging, people thought “Hey, this package must be important because it came via .”

FedEx has an ideal positioning because the brand has battled  for hearts and minds of customers consistently.

References

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, ‘The Ultimate Book of Business Brands: Insights from the World’s 50 Greatest Brands,2003.

Francis J. Kelly, III & Barry Silverstein,’ The BreakAway Brand; How Great Brands Stand out, 2005

Al Ries & Laura Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding’,2002.

Grant, Linda, ‘Why FedEx is flying high’ , Fortune, Novenber 1997.

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