“You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the marketplace.” – David Ogilvy
So, you’re looking to lift your brand.
Growing your brand is vital, yet it often proves elusive. Especially in today’s hyper-connected and competitive environment. The jumble of advertisers shouting across all media for a share of the consumer’s attention makes getting your message through the clutter more difficult than ever before. But it’s not impossible.
We all know great brands that have risen above the din and stand apart as unique “personalities”, creating the growth that drives these businesses forward. While we might think of iconic brands in these terms, the good news is that most brands, big or small, can be lifted by applying solid communications practices.
Everything starts with the brand. So, when planning marketing communications, carefully consider each of the following Brand Lifting Elements:
1. Goals: Effective marketing communications must reflect well-formed goals. These may include greater brand awareness, generating sales, customer retention, repeat business, etc. The first step in brand lift is to identify marketing objectives that advance your overall business.
2. Audience: Once clearly defined communication goals are established, use this framework to identify a receptive target audience. This audience may be segmented into one or more groups that have a common need for the offering and the means to acquire it.
3. Messaging: Every brand has that unique “personality” that lends a common voice to all communications. Carefully craft messaging that captures this essence while furthering the marketing objective and fitting the unique needs of the audience.
4. Creative: Creative is the conduit that drives the message through the clutter in a way that resonates with the audience. At it’s best, creative not only informs, but delivers a brand experience that excites and encourages action. Carefully vet creative work against these criteria to assure maximum effectiveness.
5. Channel Selection: It’s challenging to reach the consumer given today’s myriad of communication media. Communications channels should be carefully selected to deliver a consistent message, engage the audience, encourage a dialog (when possible) and ultimately achieve the marketing goal. Don’t lock into specific solutions, instead review all options and design communications that utilize the most effective media.
6. Measurement: Brand lift is about results, so select and measure metrics that reflect marketing goals. Periodic review will then show how well communications are performing against goals and allow for adjustments when necessary.
Lifting your brand is not a one time effort; it’s an ongoing process of continual trial and refinement. Consistently apply these Brand Lift Elements to marketing communications and over time you will build stronger brands, have better results and more profitable business.
One of the fun things about the popular series Mad Men is that it often references real brands from the period being portrayed. In a recent episode, Peggy is assigned to lead the pitch for Burger Chef, a popular hamburger chain in the 60’s and 70’s with restaurants across the US. When I saw this, it really hit home and brought back some memories. My Dad worked on that brand for years.
Growing up in the 70’s, I remember driving with him to visit Burger Chef restaurants across the Northeast. His company produced point-of-sale, premiums and other collateral for the chain so he’d visit the stores to see that materials were merchandised correctly. At times we’d have so much Burger Chef stuff in the house that it felt like the “Burger Chef” and “Jeff” were members of the family.
After seeing the brand on Mad Men, I did some research. In the late 1970’s, the Burger Chef chain was owned by General Foods and had over 1,000 stores across the US, second only to McDonalds. However, in 1982 GF management decided to divest and sold the chain to the parent company of Hardees, which subsequently rebranded or closed stores. The last Burger Chef restaurant dropped the name in 1996.
While the history is interesting, what really struck me is the devotion to the restaurant that continues today. Google “Burger Chef” and you’ll find numerous tribute sites and social media pages dedicated to the brand. Many of these sites feature materials that my Dad’s firm produced back then. It takes dedicated fans to hold onto packaging, premiums, displays, etc for almost 40 years!
Indeed. It’s a good reminder that, in a digital world, there is still a place for traditional advertising and promotion. We are still physical beings who need to connect with the tangible items that surround us.
While digital ads disappear, printed advertising and promotions can stick around for a while. Sometimes for a very long while.