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Changing the Marcom Mindset (part II) – Understanding Brands

January 12, 2010

Before discussing how marketing communications needs to change, we need a better understanding what brands are, and why people buy one brand over another.

There are two concepts marketers need to grasp in order to change their current marcom mindset.

1. All brands are experiences.

I don’t care if you’re a toothpaste or bakery shop, every brand is an experience. Until marketers and agencies realize brands are experiences, their mindset will be a barrier to creating marcom activities that can change how people think or feel about their brand.

Fortunately, most large brands, particularly consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers already understand they’re selling experiences. Some brands even hire people with titles like Experience Designer. The important thing is to understand is every touch-point with the consumer is part of the brand experience, and the brand experience goes far beyond the time a consumer spends using a product or service.

2. Brands that create the best experiences win in the marketplace.

Think about it. The best brands in every category are the brands that create the best experiences. Southwest Airlines, Apple, Zappos, etc. When you start to think about brands as experiences, you really begin to understand why certain brands are winners, and others are losers.

A choice of experiences

Brands also compete with experiences that may not be in their category. A bag of chips competes with a milkshake, concerts compete with books, a great dinner competes with a new pair of jeans, and a new car competes with a kitchen remodel.

People are constantly seeking and buying experiences that provide the most pleasure and meaning in their lives.

How we find and choose experiences

Traditionally, brands attract new consumers by promising their experience is more pleasurable or meaningful than alternative experiences. Marketers use one-to-many channels like TV, radio, and print to communicate these promises, to paint a picture for consumers: ‘you could be part of this experience’.

Today, we learn more about products and services, ‘good experiences’ if you will, from friends, family and acquaintances. We also rely on the opinions of complete strangers, from the celebrities we admire to online reviewers. I point this out to tease a subsequent post – the experience of finding an experience also matters. Consumers now have better tools, better experiences to find better experiences.

Next time: Experiences and Interactivity

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