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Marketing’s GOLDEN thread


How do you grow your brand? Read the manual. Increase penetration, that’s how. Target light and non-brand buyers, light category buyers. Try and reach all buyers if you can afford it. Let loyalty take care of itself, it’ll happen naturally as long as your product and service are up to scratch. Make sure the brand’s physically available, so you’re there when people fall. And before then you need to be in the room, so you’re the one that comes to mind when they’re thinking of buying. That’s what you need to do, it’s simple. Build mental availability.


Yes but how?


OK, brands are memories. Associations that build up in the mind from a variety of sources. Memory structures, strictly. Your job is to build and refresh these networks, the ones that are useful to buyers. So you need to understand their entry points, the when, where, with whom, with what and why. Then link your brand to as many of these CEPs as possible, the main ones anyway or the ones not dominated by a competitor or those that people are prepared to pay more for. And make sure when you turn up, they know it’s you. Then when they see you, those associations come to mind. If you see purple, you think Cadbury’s, you feel like that gorilla. So use your brand assets, stand out, be distinctive.


Yes but how?


You’re right, you won’t get far without a strategy. Start with diagnosis. That means research, qual and quant, what people do and why they do it. Monitor the competition. Understand the context. Explore how your brand is perceived relative to others. Remember there are 4 P’s and they all matter, particularly the actual experience, that probably matters more than anything. Then it’s decision time. Who are you going to target? It won’t be everyone, not if you think about it. Then what’s your position? What associations do you want in your target’s minds? What does your brand stand for? It’s like the objectives you set for your tactics. You have to choose.


Yes but how?

Now we need a dose of neuroscience and a wake-up call. Brands don’t matter much to people, they really don’t. When they get bought, it’s often more System 1 than System 2. So we’re talking fast, intuitive, associative, effortless. If System 2 does get involved, it’s probably to clinch the deal and post-rationalise the decision. That’s why you want your brand to come to mind quickly and why you want it to be easy to recognise. And if you can also trigger the right associations, it becomes an even easier choice, particularly if competitors are coming to mind too. People look at your brand and think, without really thinking, ‘that’s the brand for me’. So you need to work out which feelings you’re after.


Yes but how?


You know marketing is as much psychology as science. It’s true nobody has time to think about trivial decisions. As long as it meets our explicit goals. But what about our implicit goals? Why do you remember some brands more easily than others? That comes down to understanding the deeper needs people have, which ones matter to your target and which ones your brand can connect with. Because those are the needs that determine mental availability. And remember this all happens in a flash, the job people want to do, the associations they have with your brand and whether those two things coincide. You could call it a moment of closeness. And what you need is more of those moments with more people.


Yes but how?


OK, now we need to talk.

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by RICHARD BROWN

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