Do not apply general rules to specific Brands

One of the biggest challenges in branding is ensuring that you understand the unique issues associated with each brand. Every one is different from the next. That is why a brand is the opposite of generic. In brand management, you cannot take strategies and approaches that have worked for one brand, apply them to another and expect to be successful. Each brand has a distinct equity, different market segments and contrasting reasons for purchase. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is to apply general rules to specific brands.

In adulthood, this presents another problem for male marketers and another big advantage for female marketers. Perhaps the toughest challenge in branding is articulating a clear positioning statement for the brand. Seeing a plethora of brand positioning attempts, most of them amazingly are bad.

One of the main reasons for the lack of traction for a brand positioning is that it is simply too long and complex. The bog standard approach to positioning is a series of complicated levels contained with a circle or triangle. The problem with this is that it simply does not work.

While the marketer feels good about their super-complex approach with brand essence, brand personality and so on, the result is far too complex and dilute to affect staff or drive any meaningful marketing strategy. Anything more than three words to define the essence of a brand renders the result pointless.

Another important challenge that faces marketers is competition. We must identify the main competitors in the market and devise strategies against them. Again, the recent discoveries about differences between the male and female brains suggest that women may also be in a superior position to perform this marketing task.

Combining these two differences, evolution provides us with the perfect hunter: a man who can stoke up aggression easily and focus that aggression on a particular target to the exclusion of all else. But in marketing, this is exactly the kind of response to competition that can lead to disaster. Too often, marketers fail to see the true competitive set because they fixate on a single rival that they deem to
be their main threat. Mobile brand Nokia’s current woes, for example, partly stem from its inability to see Google and Apple’s encroachment, because the Finnish company was too focused on its existing, classic competitor, Ericsson.

One of the biggest challenges in branding is ensuring that you understand the unique issues associated with each brand. Every one is different from the next. That is why a brand is the opposite of generic. In brand management, you cannot take strategies and approaches that have worked for one brand, apply them to another and expect to be successful. Each brand has a distinct equity, different market segments and contrasting reasons for purchase. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is to apply general rules to specific brands.

In reality, the chief executive is rarely the best person to represent the brand in front of the media or consumers. Female marketers are more likely to avoid the centre stage and allow the right spokes-person to represent the brand to consumers.

Take Rose-Marie Bravo, the fantastically successful chief executive of Burberry. In 10 years at the helm of the British luxury brand, Bravo gave virtually no interviews. Instead, she hired a young British designer, Christopher Bailey, as creative director, and let him represent the brand to the media. This is an approach that most male marketers struggle with. They seek the limelight and view press and PR releases as a natural place for them to step forward.

Marketers are the last people on earth that the media want to write about and are deeply unpopular with consumers, too. Founders of a brand or the people who actually make the products are usually much better received by the media and generate better PR. Female marketers are more likely to grasp this fact, whereas male marketers will reach for their jacket and tie as soon as the words ‘press launch’ are mentioned.

One of the main reasons for the lack of traction for a brand positioning is that it is simply too long and complex. The bog standard approach to positioning is a series of complicated levels contained with a circle or triangle. The problem with this is that it simply does not work.

While the marketer feels good about their super-complex approach with brand essence, brand personality and so on, the result is far too complex and dilute to affect staff or drive any meaningful marketing strategy. Anything more than three words to define the essence of a brand renders the result pointless.

Another important challenge that faces marketers is competition. We must identify the main competitors in the market and devise strategies against them. Again, the recent discoveries about differences between the male and female brains suggest that women may also be in a superior position to perform this marketing task.

Combining these two differences, evolution provides us with the perfect hunter: a man who can stoke up aggression easily and focus that aggression on a particular target to the exclusion of all else. But in marketing, this is exactly the kind of response to competition that can lead to disaster. Too often, marketers fail to see the true competitive set because they fixate on a single rival that they deem to
be their main threat. Mobile brand Nokia’s current woes, for example, partly stem from its inability to see Google and Apple’s encroachment, because the Finnish company was too focused on its existing, classic competitor, Ericsson.

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