Last time, we had a look at why tech brands often suffer from arrested development. Today, we’re going to talk about why this oft- overlooked component of a successful business isn’t something you can do without.
Brand-based and above-the-line comms build exposure in the market and create ‘mental space’ for people to consider your brand.
While this may seem fluffy, there’s solid science behind it.
Byron Sharp, Professor of Marketing at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, has demonstrated through multiple studies that two things determine a brand’s success – and the success of its comms – more than anything else.
- Share of market
- Share of mind
It’s very difficult to influence point 1 without causing yourself problems. (We’ll talk about them at another time. It’s far too interesting and complex a subject to reduce to a side note.)
But it’s very easy to affect point 2: all you have to do is make yourself memorable. This is what ‘brand’ advertising does: the heart-and-minds counterpart to direct response’s feet-and-wallets approach.
When it’s done right, we call the result a magnetic brand.
What is a magnetic brand?
A magnetic brand is one that people remember. And remember in a way that has certain important features:
- It attracts the customers you want
- It repels the ones you don’t
And it behaves – in both business and communications aspects – in a way that makes it both high performing and resilient to market changes.
For examples of how this works in action, think KFC and Volkswagen. Both recently suffered disasters that would have crippled companies with less market presence.
And even though they didn’t recover from the knocks immediately, they were able to fall back on tactical advertising in response to the crisis. And on the goodwill created by memorable communications and interactions in the decades before the scandals.
A magnetic brand isn’t just a great way to bring in customers and revenue. It’s a form of business insurance.
They don’t just trade on a great product. They also trade on a purpose and a story. One that makes them relevant to everyday life in some way – whether it be big or small.
Which poses a big problem for those of you in B2B.
B2B Tech is a category where sales calls are an everyday nuisance. And products often cause more problems and overhead bloat than they solve.
For instance, nobody in the history of the human race has ever said this:
“Aww yeah my hybrid cloud architecture is seamlessly and securely integrated!”
– Nobody ever
If you’re just approaching marketing as business as usual, you’re just adding to the ‘can’t be bothered’ pile. It doesn’t matter what your ROI is if nobody’s paying any attention to it.
You have to first remember that nobody is waiting to hear from you.
Only once you’ve taken this first step can you work towards building a brand and comms profile that can make people take notice.
If you want to know what the second step is on the journey towards becoming a magnetic brand, stay tuned for Part 3.
Written by Josh Anderson