“A brand is a reason to choose.” – Cheryl Burgess
The evolution of marketing dates back to simpler times where sales were as easy as having a product to sell. We started at the simple trade era where everything was made by hand and supply was limited. This was followed by the production era where mass production took center stage and alternative products were few. The sales era was next with competition starting to rise and price being your main sales motivation. Through all of these eras the main focus was placed on the product you were selling.
Fast forward to modern times and we see how this strategy will leave you in the dark. Markets are highly saturated with aggressive, fast-paced competition and product evolution. It is not enough to promote your product anymore, as chances are that there are various alternatives in the market with better pricing, colours and availability. Selling active gear? Well, five alternative stores are selling exactly the same thing right next to you. So how do you stand out in the colossal crowd of competitors?
Let’s look at three major brands to find out:
The Apple Community
Whether you love or hate the brand, Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world. They topped the Forbes list in 2016, being worth an astounding $154,1 billion. Yet, the brand is known for being attacked by the public and media for having mediocre products that are not as technological advanced as their competitors’.
The funny thing is, their customers know that, but don’t care. Nobody buys an iPhone because of its specs. You buy it because you want to be able to say you have an iPhone. It is all about the brand. Apple achieved this by focusing their marketing not on the product itself, but on the actual lifestyle and image you gain from buying their products. This can be seen with their phones massively featuring in almost every movie and popular TV show. Their TV advertisements also focus on famous people or interesting people, such as designers, sporting their product in fun and unique situations. Only some features are listed with the focus more on the environment and lifestyle surrounding the product.
The roaring Harley-Davidson
If I ask you to describe Harley-Davidson in three words, chances are you might think of loud, freedom and ‘badass’. You might even have a clear image in your mind of a guy with a handlebar moustache and leathers cruising along the highway, sporting various scary looking tattoos. The focus is again, not only on the bike itself, but the clear “who” that is riding the bike.
The brand has opened multiple doors of opportunities for themselves by focusing their marketing on the lifestyle of the product. This can be seen with their expansion into everything from clothing, to shoes, accessories and novelty gifts. Customers realize that it is not enough to buy the main product, the motorcycle, but to actually live and fit the brand. They therefore invest in the whole lifestyle that you get from purchasing Harley-Davidson, and consequently create great success for the brand.
Royalty at Forever New
A great example of a retailer following this marketing strategy is Forever New. The brand ‘promises’ a luxury and royal-like lifestyle when purchasing the brand. They achieve this by including this feel in all their contact points.
Models can be seen posing in their luxury clothing at various up-market hotels, exclusive venues and under the lights of Paris. This is tied in to their stores with the photos added all around the walls. The stores are also white and crisp with beautiful lighting brightening up the place. When grabbing your first item you immediately receive VIP treatment with a store assistant taking the item and “opening” a dressing room just for you. Every item you choose off the shelf, they immediately take to the back for you. With the purchase, your items are nicely wrapped in tissue paper before placing it in a bag.
It is all these little things that build the brand and make clients believe in the idea they are selling. Every aspect around the brand makes you feel royal and important and therefore clients invest in this idea, rather than the clothing item itself.
Three successful brands – one strategy: sell an idea, story or lifestyle to customers, one that they believe in, and it will automatically sell your product. It’s easy to stand out from the crowd, not through product, but through the endless possibilities and ideals your product will bring to a customer’s life. Therefore know your target market and create their ideal through your brand. Transform them into the popular, ‘badass’ or royal individuals that they deserve to be. Build the dream, and they will come.