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At the recent 2000 Trane Comfort Specialist Conference here, the company’s ad agency, The Richards Group, provided a presentation on the importance of branding.
Why is it important? “It is the only thing we have that really lasts,” said agency chief Stan Richards.
A brand can be defined very simply: “A brand is a promise.” Timex watch commercials, for instance, still promote that they take a licking but keep on ticking. That’s their promise, said Richards.
Your brand is conveyed by everything you do, he noted. That includes your brand name and logo, advertising, the way people are treated by your employees, etc.
It is important to achieve brand consistency. You need to be consistent day to day.
“Inconsistency is the virus that weakens brands,” he stated.
THREE TYPESRichards then discussed what he calls spherical branding. This encompasses:
1. Brand positioning;
2. Brand personality; and
3. Brand affiliation.
Positioning is what you want the brand to represent. Regarding personality, for a company like Motel 6, it’s a homespun personality, said Richards. Affiliation has to do with what types of people you’re connecting your brand with.
Why do people respond to advertising? People respond best, simply, to ads that they like, he said. Researchers have found that “clarity is pretty endearing in and of itself.”
Cluttered newspaper ads, for example, are a waste of time. They don’t build your brand. He then showed examples of good and bad, clear and unclear ads.
Ads that are inconsistent with the brand will be failures, Richards remarked. A dealer must establish himself or herself as the keeper of the company’s brand and make sure it is carried on consistently.
Dave Snell of the agency stated that consumers determine whether they can trust you and want to buy from you based on what might seem to be “trivial details.” For example, some questions a consumer considers are:
In a focus group video shown, one customer noted, “First impressions are lasting impressions.” Customers need to trust you and feel comfortable with you. “Price is usually one of the last deciding factors,” said Snell.
KEEP IT SIMPLESnell noted that maximizers are those customers that are vocal. They pore over brochures. They make heavy use of the Internet. They select brand first before looking for a dealer. Meanwhile, minimizers don’t do much research, he said. They just want something that’s reliable and won’t break down. They go to brands they already know.
He stressed that your company’s brand promise “must be simple.” It must be something you and your organization “believe in with great conviction.” And you must be tireless in presenting it over and over.
Publication date: 12/18/2000