Branding: When the Lowest Price Is Not Enough
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
I worked as a recruiter in the consumer packaged goods industry. Every day I talked with job seekers and hiring managers who sold consumer products through retail stores.
When I reviewed qualifications, I was assessing a job seeker’s ability to make brands successful. I found that themes recurred in the profiles I recruited. The hiring companies were seeking people who could design and carry out successful brand campaigns.
When you are interviewing, you might find some of these ideas helpful to show companies how you can make their brands successful.
Wal-Mart, Costco, and Walgreens all sell pharmaceuticals. Wal-Mart targets customers who want to buy sustainable quantities at the best price. Costco, on the other hand, targets customers who can afford to buy larger quantities to get the better price. Walgreens (and CVS) have stores in nearly every neighborhood. They charge higher retail prices for the convenience of shopping locally.
Simple Calls to Action
Calls to action are statements that bring the customer to act. They may be explicit like the statement “Save now.”
Or the call to action may be implicit: “Offer is good while supplies last.” The statement implies that you must buy now to reap the benefits.
Once you know your audience, you hit them with the same message over and over. Advertising is like the Colorado river. Even when navigating through the rapids, you are not likely to see the river eroding the walls and floor of the Grand Canyon. Over time, however, the canyon becomes deeper, wider, and changes course.
Logos and Icons
The use of logos has taken on even more significance as social media has created icons an identity for their brands. Just the following letters alone are enough for people to identify major social media sites: in, f, G+, P, and t. In order, those iconic letters represent LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Twitter, of course, is the iconic birdie.
Slogans are memorable. Here are some examples.
Expect More. Pay Less (Target Stores)
“Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man.” (Ace Hardware)
“The Most Interesting Man in the World” (XX Dos Equis)
“Save Money. Live Better.” (Wal-Mart)
“Glasses in less than an hour.” (LensCrafters)
My favorite slogan is the iPod launch slogan: “A thousand tunes in your pocket.”