April 7, 2017
Bland Marketing – Don’t let your brand lose focus
There was a time not long ago when BRAND implied a highly focused strategic basis for what a company promised the public - what it stood for. The brand was the ultimate competitive advantage, and marketing the brand was a full-time job. These days, more and more it seems to me that brand marketing has become bland marketing - undifferentiated, me-too and dressed up in the latest designer look & feel.
It amounts to brand blasphemy perpetrated on one’s own business. It’s not fair to the consumer or the company. But in these difficult economic times, unfortunately, too many companies settle for expediency rather than strategy.
Instead of engaging and earning the trust of consumers bland marketing triggers suspicion and ire, which becomes the standard consumer posture.
Understanding why this is happening is pretty simple. Most marketers just don’t do the hard work of identifying their company’s true raison d'être, assuming they have one. They are pressed for results so they settle for an idea that feels like a USP and works...in the moment. I’ve seen lots of examples of one brand annexing a competitor’s brand, adding a slightly different spin (hey, if it’s working for them, it can work for us!). The resulting marketing is uninspired, un-motivating: bland marketing.
Let me be clear, there are many, many, many great brands out there. They are great because at the core they stand for something important to the consumer and the company. They represent value; they deliver on a promise that is important to the consumer and that engenders trust and allegiance. Internally, that promise drives the actions of the company. Great brands are nurtured continually by everyone in the organization. It’s hard work.
Bland marketers need to pay attention to and learn from the greats.
Creating a brand is hard work. Creating a successful brand is hard work, continually.