Marketing products such as cars and real estate are similar. Both are lifestyle products sold by a winning marketing the story.
Purchased as a sign of wealth or achievement both come with utility. With pricing points that encourage the user sacrifice their disposable income to achieve a certain status or utility. These are possessions that come with kudos and tap the experience and the emotion of the customer.
I was discussing this last week in the context of the launch of an American car here in the middle-east. An Iconic vehicle, good design, history and heritage - but one thing was missing. Who ever was doing the marketing missed the opportunity to use the ‘heritage’ and history to tell a great story.
Instead the car is being launched as a brand new product. Possibly a huge oversight ! Now millions will be spent constructing a new story and narrative when its already there just waiting to be tapped into and reinforced.
The truth is brands are built through storytelling of people who have experienced the brand. Brands are not a modern invention. The Pharaoh in ancient Egypt was a brand, the Roman emperors and Elvis Presley - all of them were brands for millions of their followers. Their image was worshipped and recognised for more than their reality and they still resonate long after their deaths.
Prior to the invention of writing, stories were confined by the limited capacity of human brains. You couldn’t invent overly complex stories which people couldn’t remember. With writing you could create extremely long stories with intricate twists which were stored on tablets, then papyri, then in libraries instead of human heads. Man relied on images and made up the stories. It didn’t matter if the stories were true or not. (The same could be said today with rise of fake news and election sabotage)
People talked about them in the same way they have conversations about the companies on billboards they see from the top deck of the bus on the way home. All these stories are fuelled by ‘whispers’ - “he said” - “she said” - or “I knew someone who bought that car in the 80’s”…..
Thats the thing marketing folks forget - “people are media” and they walk around tweeting, facebooking and sharing what they see and think with loads of other people. So if you give them a good story to share - with a bit of history they will share. In turn this amplifies the brand message.
A brand is not just a logo or a colour scheme – it’s about experience and more importantly about what people talk about it or perceive it to be. The differentiation for your product or service is already within your company - it is sitting their with the heritage and the things that you have done even in the last 12 months.
Most advertising is just glorified graffiti unless there is an underlying narrative driving the image and story around the community and social networks. Marketing in reality is about the totality of the ways you present yourself to the customer. Its about the vision, where you are in the market (and where you want to be ! ).
Just saying that your brand stands for something doesn’t mean its true. You must live up to your actions and demonstrate your brand equity to your internal and external customers. To do that your customer needs to know what to talk about. Help them
If you can’t deliver that on a piece of paper then start again !