Where are you and your brand placed?
This is probably the question that is ignored the most by senior marketers and many business leaders.
One of my motto’s is always be marketing (no marketing = no-one will know you or remember you), always be auditing (if you do not know what you need to optimise and where you need to improve you are losing).
Understanding where you are and what you need to do from a brand marketing perspective is essential, yet many choose to ignore it.
Here are seven simple classes to review and audit your brand and company and place yourself into these categories.
The class no one wants to live in. There are probably millions of companies who live in unknown.
These companies do not have a break out product, they struggle to get cut through with partnerships, they are an alternative or a brand people have been given as a substitute for their food order or a chain that appears in paid search or been discovered in the takeaway app of choice or surfaced in paid ads on Amazon.
In recent years it has never been so easy as a brand to be noticed, you have so many channels to get noticed on.
Social media has been a plus for many brands, many brands have used social media to build a brand and get seen (and followed) regularly.
Being noticed can be negative, especially on social media or national press for saying something or commenting on an area that causes upset or frustration. Some of these brands have their two minutes in the limelight but this doesn’t drive awareness, traffic or importantly sales.
Social media campaigns across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are typical channels used to be noticed.
Brands are now using social media to try and get seen. Posting regularly and often was the way many Marketers thought they would gain success from. A way to increase the reach of their brand, introduce their products and engage. In more recent times this has been harder and harder to achieve leading to fewer brands being heard or known.
A small number of companies have been created solely through Instagram, this is no mean feat however, some brands struggle to go from seen to heard to known.
Being seen doesn’t mean you will see purchases from your marketing and advertising.
So many brands get seen but moving to be remembered and known can be quite the effort and many are failing at this currently.
Some brands are seen automatically for when athletes wear their products or are sponsored by them but don’t mean it increases their awareness or the likelihood of being purchased.
Seen can be exciting but can be tricky to mature into heard or known. Spending more money or sponsoring more doesn’t always work and can actually negatively impact your business.
YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok ads can be great to be seen.
Being featured in press and specialist magazines and sites also help you to be seen.
Transitioning between seen and heard:
There are many brands who have thrived from just advertising but these brands can really struggle to be known and loved away from their ads. Many brands try to leverage being seen and attempt to bump up into known.
We have large expectations of brands in 2020 like we have never before.
What is their mission, do they have a purpose we can buy into, are they environmental enough, can we support their suppliers, etc, etc.
Heard is important to many demographics, particularly younger audiences and high spending demos, heard can be a good leapfrog up to known, it can also be where many companies and brands stay.
Heard can be a class that sees some sales but rarely sees repeats or when the experience with the product brands stays there.
Most marketing teams have forgotten how to drive up from heard, yes it is a difficult class, however, your product or product experience will likely help or completely hinder you.
TV and radio ads can be great to be heard. Running print ads and having constant advertising across multiple channels also helps. Big impact video style campaigns and influencer campaigns are typical channels leveraged in heard.
Being known is probably where only the top 20% of brands really are, ask a handful of friends to call out brands and typically the same number of brands come up.
Being known for a product or product range is great, being known drives sales, it drives people to pick a certain burger over another, it drives supermarkets to stock you and give you real estate over others.
Known brands are typically habitual, they typically are regularly seen or interacted with.
Known can be a gift and a curse, you might be known but might also be a brand that someone just will not buy or use, down to your product, down to what you have done in the past or how the product made people feel.
Some celebrities release brands and they are instantly known, they are brought and have the opportunity to be loved within minutes of using their products.
Known often Markets and advertises across all channels, being an existing brand you have the fear of stopping advertising and larger marketing campaigns you may be forgotten.
In previous roles working with smart brand managers, we created and used variations of Know – Like – Love, love is how many people sing your praises, how many customers recommend you, how many go out of their way to buy you again and support your products.
Loved brands like Apple creates advocates and fanboys, they are brands that people are inspired to use and aspire to buy or upgrade to.
It is rare customers fall out of love with loved brands, some even to go as far as giving their loved brand a few goes before moving away. Many food brands, sports brands and tech brands are given multiple chances.
Loved brands often advertising across the biggest reaching channels and allow their brand and suite of products to increase the love and aberration, loved brands can often rely on brand advocates to do their marketing for them, typically wearing, drinking, gifting and shouting about their products for free. Celebrities will also promote for free as it increases their profile being associated with these loved brands.
The one area all brands typically don’t like to live in is hated, typically brands would like to do everything they can to get out of the hated bracket, unfortunately for some, it seems a difficult task, relying on a distributor, being impacted by a marketplace sale or fallen victim of a bad delivery experience.
Marmite is probably the brand that knows and understand the value of being hated.
Hated brands can actually still thrive, there are examples where specific consumers dislike or hate you but you can be used a huge number of times. Think soda and fizzy drink brands, coffee brands and food stores.
For what it is worth, you can be hated + loved by some but this is rarely the class the masses will apply to you and should be crystal clear to truly know which class you place yourself in. The research will be important alongside sales, retention, and growth numbers, but as Marketers, you should have a sense and a feel for this alongside the data you gather while Marketing and auditing. A clear message to Marketing leaders do not forget what makes Marketing brilliant, the head (the data is there let’s add a bit of magic), the heart (I know this is going to work but needs that little extra from the team) and the gut (gut feeling – going to make this work with creative genius even if the data is not backing the idea).
It Is Important To Note:
We all live in bubbles and filters. For what you do and what you see you might believe you are higher up than you are.
The moment you lose as Brand or Marketing leads is acting inside your bubble and not understanding the wider market and what other industries are doing and achieving.
Your brand might gain a lot of usage and be number one in what you vs a competitor, however within the vertical you operate in you might not be as known, as seen or as loved aka important as you believe.
You can be appreciated and well known within your niche or vertical but can be relatively unknown.
This is often a healthy place to be but why not plan to acquire more customers, look to diverse slightly and look to partner to grow your base.
Something I often teach in my Marketing Coaching sessions is knowing and understand which class you live in currently.
How you can change this class and for Marketing leaders how are they developing their Marketing action plan to improve their marketing class and ensure they stay out of hated as much as possible. You would be surprised how many very senior Marketing leaders do not understand these simple classes and how to move the performance needle.
So where do you think in these brand classes? Where do you see the opportunity, how are you going to improve or optimise?