It was one of Irving’s favorite stories about the old country. When she was little, every Friday afternoon his mother would be sent to the bakery down the road with a pot of uncooked stew. The baker would put it in the oven and let it cook for a whole day while the family observed Sabbath. And every Saturday, Irving’s mother would bring home a delicious pot of steamy stew from the bakery.
Inspired by this story, Irving Naxon came up with a cheap and convenient way to recreate the same mouthwatering experience for his and other families: the Crock Pot. Oven or a pot didn’t matter, for the secret of a rich and tender stew was cooking it at a steady temperature over an extended period of time.
Steadily exposing your customers to your business’ message over an extended period of time is also the secret of a successful brand.
What’s the fuss about branding, anyway?
There seem’s to have been a whole science created around that term, but in it’s essence, branding is what a name stands for in public. Popular examples are the Coca-Cola’s red or the Gekko from Geico. But branding goes deeper than that.
It’s not only a color or a mascot, ALL the mental associations that are connected to a name, good and bad. In other words, if advertising gets the name out there, it’s the job of branding to attach a meaning to that name.
For example Volvo being the obvious choice for a SAFE car. Or a whole range of Mac-products for CREATIVE professionals.
I don’t have a million dollar company, so why should I care about branding?
The goal of branding is to have your customers think of your name first (and best) whenever the topic of your product category comes up. Slowly and steadily, it anchors your name in the long-term memory of your customers.
That also means that over time, branding campaigns work better and better. Once a certain connection is established, for example that at Psychotactics you learn specific skills to improve your business, it doesn’t take more than an occasional reminder to bring it up every time the conversation hovers around business skills. It works for large, medium and small brands alike.
I’m still not sold on branding. What’s the alternative?
On the opposite spectrum of branding campaigns are direct-response campaigns. Unlike branding, which works over a long period of time, these campaigns aim at soliciting a reaction from the customer right away–as a direct response to your campaign.
One of their hallmarks are limited time offers, like Summer Blowouts or Black Friday Sales. But, unlike their branding cousins, these campaigns loose effectiveness every time, until your customer merely asks “When’s the next sale”?
I see, it’s short-term business vs. long-term benefits. How can I get the best of both worlds?
To get the best of both worlds, you can employ both branding and direct-response campaigns. Strategically placed, sparse special offers help your create buzz and cash-flow around specific events. And another longterm campaign geared towards establishing your brand in the minds of your customers helps you setting your business apart from the competition and deepening the relationship with your customers.
What’s the best way then to build my brand?
Like a delicious stew, it will take a while of steady campaigning for your name to turn into a brand like it. It might take longer to bear fruits, but unlike limited sale offers your branding campaigns will work better the longer your run then – until your customers think first of your product when their moment of need arises – all by themselves.
For a series of effective steps to create a successful brand for your business, keep reading the upcoming articles.