What Winning Brands Do

The prophet Ricky Bobby (portrayed by Will Ferrell) once said, “If you ain’t first…you’re last.”  And while not technically accurate, he’s got a point. Especially in branding where your customers have to make a choice (possibly conscious or unconscious) about which brand of X to buy and which one gets left on the shelf. One brand gets picked, the rest are politely thanked for their time.  

Branding, which was invented and perfected by Procter & Gamble is all about emotions.But not your emotions — theirs.  Not your story — theirs.  So even though it INVOLVESyou and your company, it’s not really about you at all. And that’s a tough thing for some people to understand. Which is why most brands are pretty terrible.  

So with that intro, I present what I think winning brands do better than their competitors:

  1. They have great messaging all about you— your journey, your story and what you want and could possibly get from them.   — One of Apple’s memorable recent tag lines was “You are more powerful than you think.”  And again, this is the world’s largest company talking NOT about themselves, but about you. And hint, that is why they are the world’s largest company.
  2. They create great content that tells their story and keeps you on the ride with them longer — Most sponsored content companies create and push is garbage. It is boring, non-helpful, sales-driven crap that someone had to create because their boss told them to. Great brands know how to continuously tell their story using blogs, video, infographics, memes, and keep you engaged with them.
  3. They have 3rd parties backing them up — PR, earned media  – Oh yeah, public relations is a big part of this. PR builds trust and trust is invaluable to brands. Ironically, PR was created when advertising stopped working so well. 
  4. They avoid doing stupid things and if they do step in it, they apologize well — The world is filled with stupid these days, but the winning brands tend to stear clear of it.
  5.  They respect the consumer’s right to be left alone – -they have confidence you’ll buy when you’re ready. — Apple is another fine example here. They don’t send you a million e-mails to move you down the sales funnel.  They say – hey, we have a new product and you let us know if you’re cool enough to have one. I mean, you’re cool and we’d like to think so, but you know, it’s really up to you. :). Yeah, that’s the genius of branding right there. 

When you think about it, branding is a great deal easier than WE think it is. The customer WANTS to buy things, they WANT things. Our job is to figure out those real emotions and needs and position our brand as a possible pathway to get it. Do that and the rest of your marketing will be primed to come in first place.