On brands, saddles and sex

On brands, saddles and sex


 “A hypothetical Saddle Company could just sell saddles, and if so, they’d probably be selling on the basis of things like the quality of the leather they use or the fancy adornments their saddles include; they could be selling on the range of styles and sizes available, or on durability, or on price.

Or, they could sell horseback riding. Being successful at selling horseback riding means they grow the market for their product while giving the perfect context for talking about their saddles.” (Adapted from Stewart Butterfields piece on medium - https://bit.ly/1rn0bEX)

On the same basis,

  • Chanel sells sex appeal, not fragrant water.

  • BMW sells image insurance, not motor cars.

  • NRMA sells peace of mind, not insurance.

  • Cotex sells freedom of embarrassment, not panty liners.

  • Makita sells holes in walls, not drill bits.

That is easy enough to ‘get’. It’s pretty hard to do in practice:

Volvo tries to sell fun, driving experiences, but customers are buying safety.

Ford tries to sell… I am not sure what; so customers are buying merely the price.

Jeep tries to sell ‘freedom’, yet customers aren’t buying at all. Whereas Harley Davidson sells freedom from the mundane, and customers are lapping it up.

Why do some brands get it and others don’t?

Because brand custodians (organisations) think they are the brand owners. If a brand is what a customer thinks of a particular offer - and it is - then the owner is the customer. And because organisations think they are the owners, they will also believe they can shape it and change it by deciding to talk about it differently.

You don’t establish a brand by talking about it. No amount of ‘brand advertising’ will change what people think about the product. Do YOU think that if Donald Trump spent a billion dollars on TV advertising TELLING people he is something that he is not, that people will change their minds? Clearly not; and it is no different for a brand.

If DT started speaking differently, started taking different decisions, gave up Twitter etc etc, then, over time, some people will slowly start believing that he might be different/changed

In short: DT (or any brand) would have to LIVE his brand (for a long time) and based on the cumulative, consistent, combined effect of all actions and words (and non-actions) collectively, will a brand be re-born. Just like a brand is/was born in the first instance.

Forget all the crap about ‘conversations’ with brands. People don’t want to talk to brands, they want to talk to other people, and occasionally their pets. They will talk about brands, and the most a brand can do is act in a way that is consistent with how it wants to be talked about.

It’s easier said than done, that is why everyone resorts to merely saying it.

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Great customer service won't save Retail

Great customer service won't save Retail

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Theory and Practice

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