If you read all the junk out there on marketing (including my own) you’ll conclude that your situation is messed up.
Your logo doesn’t really tell your story, but it is too expensive to change. Your name doesn’t address your brand, and that is too late too. There is no time nor budget to do research, only to potentially hear what we already know, and I need results fast to not get fired.
My answer to any of that is lets get going anyway. Sure there will be a price to pay if our brand message is even a little misdirected. We surely are stuck with your name and logo, and we can’t justify the expensive inaction as we research your situation.
The fact is, every situation has greater needs in some areas than others. There is more currency in some names, and logos even when they are no longer quite relevant. Compromises in the process are expected.
The important thing to do is get on the right path, and maintain that direction. Get there as best as you can. Certain areas will delay you, others can be skipped through and still others will be undesirables, yet given.
We will speak of a North Star that the brand has to follow. But following a star ignores all the terrain and political difficulties that will arise on the journey. Just be relentless as you take the path. The direction is the important thing.
To really reach a prospect or customer, take what you have learned about sales technique, and do it backward.
The traditional method stresses the concept of being different. Specifically, find the category in which you lead, and stress those differences to the right audience. Lets take Michelin as an example. Goodyear is the most popular tire out there. Michelin recognized that and knew it had to lead a sub-category. So it stresses safety. Who can forget the image of an infant safely enjoying sitting in the protection of a Michelin tire?
So introduce your product (the tires), then explain why your offering is different (the safety USP). That is the formula for a USP driven marketing message.
Reverse marketing introduces what your company believes first. It might suggest that your family’s safety is our concern. We use the best materials and build catastrophe out of our products. We make the safest tires on the market. That appeal introduces the company as being concerned about safety first, and the tires are an outgrowth of what they believe, not a way to carve out a niche.
This emotional appeal will allow Michelin to stand out in the mind of the audience. We want to establish a single thought in the mind of our audience. One that transcends words. The emotional appeal is the best way to do that.
The tough part of visiting a prospect is that no matter how well it goes, the minute you leave, they become surrounded by the realities they postponed during your visit. Your equipment list, or quality processes are quickly forgotten. It is because you didn’t reach them on any level other than your impressive statistics. You were appealing to the wrong part of the brain.
For a marketer, the brain has sections, two of which are important. You can divide the brain into the reptilian section, the limbic brain and the neocortex.
The reptilian brain is responsible for reflexes, breathing, hearbeat and fight or flight response. It is the most primitive part of the brain and it really doesn’t concern us.
The limbic brain developed as we became mammals. It is called the emotional brain. The limbic brain is responsible for our memories and the judgement between good and bad among them. It is where loyalty and fear reside. Most importantly, all our decisions are made there. However, it has no capacity for language so you have to reach it in other ways.
The neocortex is our most advanced part of the brain. Calculations, judgement, and language reside there. It is why we can understand business. However, it simply processes this kind of data. It doesn’t make judgments on it. That is the responsibility of the limbic brain.
When Maya Angelou claimed that she had learned that people won’t remember what you said, nor what you do, they will remember how you made them feel, it is because that feeling is where you reached the limbic brain.
Marketers tend to push a company’s USP. Its unique selling proposition. Only the neocortex can process that. But to reach the limbic brain and make them feel, you have to appeal emotionally. Begin your conversation with what you believe, not what your end product is. The end product of what you produce should be the end of a story. What you believe has to drive you to your USP, then to the finished product. Otherwise they will forget what you presented the moment you leave the room.
“Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan”. It is true of great creative. Great creative starts with a daring client who understands that as long as the marketing and branding goals are met, be as outrageous as you dare.
It takes a marketing plan that everyone believes in and makes realistic sense for the brand.
Finally, it takes a creative mind capable of getting into the mind of the audience, then is able to interpret the benefits of an offer, and blending it with the rules of the media used, the brand and psychology delivers an impact.
All that has to go into it for it to be good. It wasn’t just a useful brainstorming.
Widget Maker: We are a new company. We have a great location, a recognizable name, a solid market that will love us, and now we need a logo.
Marketer: No you don’t.
Widget Maker: That is silly. Of course we do. We need something to put on our building, business cards and stationery.
Marketer: Why not just put up this recognizable name of yours? Why make people go through the steps of visualizing your logo just to recognize your name. Just put up the name instead.
Widget Maker: Get out. You don’t know anything about marketing.
Marketer: I know about human nature. You don’t need your name to be read aloud, you need that name to mean something. Surely one of the best ways to deliver the meaning of your brand is through a logo. People will recognize it in a snapshot, but that is only useful if they recognize the meaning of brand that logo represents at the same time. Your brand doesn’t need a logo, your brand needs meaning. Without that meaning, a logo is useless.
You will get a logo. But it is only a tool to convey the meaning we will help develop for your brand. If I were to give you a logo first, I would be providing you no service.
The classic Robin Williams bit on the invention of golf is really a lesson on launching a unique brand. At the time there was no demand for the new sport of golf. As a marketer, and not a comedian, I’d have argued that the world was in need of a frustrating five-hour competition in a tightly managed wilderness. Then I would have introduced the sport of golf as the solution to that need that no one realized existed until I told them it did.
My story would not be nearly as humorous, but it might have been successful. This skit, and the story of Red Bull energy drink are identical in that regard.
They both created a need. Invented a marketplace that didn’t exist before they made an argument for it, then they introduced their product as a way to fill that need.
So don’t fear launching a brand new product. Just push the category that it satisfies, whether that need is recognized to exist or not. Then introduce the new product as the solution to that dire category, which screams for attention.
Just be careful. This is inappropriate for work. Sure there is foul language, but the loud laughter it creates may be unproductive.