Brand Strategy
By Rick Biolsi

Are You Suffering From Brand Blindness?

When the much-maligned and generally loathed Hollywood studio chief Harry Cohn died, his funeral was extremely well attended. That led to the classic observation: “Give the people what they want and they’ll come out for it.”

Which comedian made that comment has been widely debated for decades, but there’s no debating its truth: customers have likes and dislikes, and staying abreast of their preferences can be the key to drawing a big crowd.

By instinctively telling the public what a brand manager wants them to know about their products or services, they often miss the key attributes that matter deeply to those making purchase decisions.

Look at it like this: you might serve the juiciest, most succulent cut of beef this side of Omaha (heck, you might even be in Omaha). Your menu might be full of mouth-watering pictures and incredibly descriptive language. But if your customer is a vegetarian, or wants a delicious french pastry, or suffers from Alpha-gal syndrome (an allergy to red meat; see, we bet you just learned something), you can broil and sizzle that beef all day, but it’s not gonna sell. Using a bit of consumer insights, wouldn’t it be nice to know what they want before you hire a chef, stock the fridge and print your menus?

Of course it would.

It’s not about bragging you’re the best. It’s not about yelling about bold innovation or incredible quality.

Here’s what it is about: forging a solid, lasting connection with your core audience.

Understanding what really matters to consumers is the root to shaping their perception of your brand, and that perception ultimately determines your brand’s success, the competitors it can outperform, and the price premium it can generate.

Fully understanding what your customers need will not only help you optimize your brand positioning, it will also enable you to send messages that will resonate with your target audience. That’s the truly effective way to put your marketing dollars to work.

Got a big marketing budget? It’s sure to evaporate quickly if you don’t use it to push the right buttons. And if you’re operating with a relatively small budget, delivering the right message—in exactly the right way—is even more essential.

It takes a combination of quantitative market research and smart analytics that tell you what customers value, to what extent your brand delivers it, and which levers you can pull to improve your performance relative to that of your competitors.

We’ve seen that brands are often surprised by what the research reveals about why their customers behave as they do. Properly conducted brand research will reveal the root causes behind customer decisions—causes that even customers themselves are sometimes not aware of.

Does this mean that the customer is always right?

No. That’s a motto that some companies use to give their consumers license to be arbitrary and sometimes unreasonable. It’s what allows Mrs. Morgan to get a full refund with no questions asked when she returns a bag of mixed nuts having eaten all of the walnuts, pecans and macadamias.

Mrs. Morgan clearly enjoys being treated as if she’s right, no matter what. But frankly, the customer with the exotic nuts in her teeth shouldn’t dictate a company’s policies.

But she can help to inform them.

More importantly, we can help to inform you. At Bartley & Dick, we can conduct—and help guide you through–the precise research and analytics your brand needs. Remember, it’s not about your opinion. It’s not even about our opinion. It’s about letting us help you market better and smarter than you do now, with sharper consumer insights.

May Harry Cohn rest in peace. May Mrs. Morgan do so as well (sadly, she choked on a filbert soon after getting her refund, and not a soul came to her funeral).

Let’s chat about ways to breathe new life into your brand.

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