Brands Create A Lifestyle

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It’s all in the connection.  The connection you get between a loyal customer and a reliable brand.  A brand has the power to change a customer’s life in ways they don’t even realize.  I talked to three of my friends about the brand’s they are loyal to and where their loyalty all began.

“Clinique allows me to live a life where I can worry about more important things then the way I look.  I know I have a product that will make me feel beautiful no matter what.” –Bia Jurema (20 year-old college student)

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Everyone wants to feel beautiful, but with the mass amounts of cosmetic brands on the market how does one choose?  For my friend Bia it’s simple: she sticks with Clinique.  A brand she has used for years that has never done her wrong.  She has formed a relationship with the brand because she knows she can count on her makeup to make her feel beautiful.  She doesn’t buy Clinique for the name, she buys it for the quality.  I mentioned the five disciplines of branding asking her to pick which one she thought fit Clinique best as a brand.  Her response?  Differentiate.  Clinique products strive for the best.  They have developed a high end brand that may cost extra, but it gives the quality people want in their products.  Clinique has created a lifestyle for Bia.  It gives her the confidence she needs in her every day life and she won’t be changing from Clinique any time soon.

“I use Proactive because it’s a reliable brand that doesn’t try to deceive me.” –Vanessa Singleton (21 year-old college student)

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Health and beauty are key to living a happy and healthy life.  Proactive as a brand stresses people to be “proactive” and make the change for themselves.  When I asked my friend Vanessa what she found to be the most influential brand in her life, she named Proactive.  I myself have to agree with her on this one because I have had my own experience with the brand, and it has changed how I feel on both the inside and outside.  We both agreed that we know we can count on Proactive products to produce the best results.

Vanessa’s reliance on Proactive also weighed heavily with their consistency.  Their products are always high quality and produce results.  She was swayed heavily by their campaigns and advertisements because the people they featured where real, which allowed her to connect with the product.  This just goes to show that sometimes laying your product out for the consumer to see, and giving them pictures of the end result can really effect a consumer’s decision.

“I always trust the Nike brand to be the best quality work out gear, that’s why I keep coming back for more.” –Jenn Johnson (21 year-old college student)

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For Jenn, working out is life.  As an exercise science major she promotes a healthy lifestyle that consists of exercising and good eating.  As more brands develop and athletic apparel options boom, Jenn knows one brand that has always stayed consistent: Nike.  The quality of Nike products has always drawn her to make the purchase, because she knows she can rely on them.  She has built a trust with the brand that has lasted for as long as she can remember.  Although The power of the Nike brand is in their message.  They encompass a life of passion to be the best you can be.  Relatable to Jenn’s life, she consistently tries to live up to her own expectations.  Jenn knows that she can rely on her Nike products, and sees them as a reminder of the lifestyle she wants to live.  Nike continues to cultivate and adapt to their marketplace, making them continually a top leader in both Jenn’s eyes and the eye of the public.

Consumers like everyone else, these three girls have focused on what has built their brand loyalty.  Clinique gave Bia satisfaction and confidence; Proactive built trust within Vanessa; and Jenn knows that Nike will consistently produce the best quality products.  These different factors come together to build a foundation, and once it is formed, a brand can never go wrong if they stay true to their customer.

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Don’t Be Scared of a Good Idea

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 How do you know when an idea is innovative?  When it scares the hell out of you.

The people who have significantly influenced our world most didn’t do it by being normal.  It always starts with an idea. June 29th, 2007, a man single handedly spearheaded the personal computer revolution. Steve Jobs.  He didn’t just create a product, but a lifestyle.  At first, he scared people.  His products intent was not only to connect person to person, but brand to person.  It made me realize that if people find trust in your brand they will be willing to go along for the ride.  Looking at Apple and the empire they’ve built makes me realize that even the scariest ideas don’t scare the loyal customers because they have faith in what you sell.  But how do we form this relationship?

 1. Differentiate:

Apple is unlike any other brand.  From day one they have made a distinction from their competitors and people have recognized this.  Apple’s biggest strength is founded in their weakness.  They are the first thing people think about when it comes to a successful brand.

2. Collaborate:

Partnered with a number of other brands Apple has been able to strengthen their marketing strategies—Google being one of them.  The sheer idea of applications allows other brands to cling on to Apple thus making it a collaboration unlike any other.

3. Innovate:

The Apple brand defines innovative.  Everything they come out with is better then the previous.  For example they have recently come out with colored iPhones a simple stylistic change propels them forward.

4. Validate:

Apple makes it simple.  They give their customers what they want, and more.  What they sell is of quality and their customers recognize that.  They validate their brand with their products.

5. Cultivate:

Apple has become a lifestyle.  They are always searching for the next best thing and reaching many different platforms while they do so.  Their brand has grown tremendously since the release of the first Apple product.

By just taking a look at Apple as a brand now and then shows it is evident how far they have come:

 

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In the end, the lesson is don’t be afraid of ideas.  Looking at this lesson on a larger scale, it is easier to establish it within larger companies.  There is a greater fan base and it is easier to make your brand known when you have the capabilities to do so.  In a smaller company it is more threatening because they haven’t established their fundamental values.  Although taking risks is the reason brands grow.   It’s all about finding your focus, and sticking with it.  Often times we get lost in all the talk of businesses and don’t see their true value.  To be a successful brand one needs to find their niche and take it all the way.

 

Not just a Product, but a Brand

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Selling a product or service has turned into selling a brand.  With the millions of brands to now choose from it is crucial for the success of a business to sell themselves to the public.  More options mean more decisions, and it is within the brand messaging that a company truly reaches out to their target audience.

Gatorade, Red Bull and Mountain Dew: all three similar products, yet extremely different.  Where do they differ?  Their brand messaging.  Each one of these products has built a brand around themselves.  They have already developed their product, and have now moved towards creating an experience for their consumers.

 

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“Red Bull gives you wings”; a now iconic saying that captivates this energy drink’s purpose all the while channeling a new energy for life.  Before looking at the Red Bull website, I knew what to expect.  The Red Bull brand message is clearly about a need for action, and living a life on the edge.  A supporter of adventure sports such as biking, surfing, motocross and more, Red Bull is telling its consumer to take risks.  They cater to a younger audience looking for adventure.  The messaging behind the brand is that even if you yourself don’t take risks, get inspired by somebody who does.

As evidence that Red Bull supports the fact that people can do anything, take their 2012 sponsorship of a man who freefell from space:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urvRrtMfSz8

 

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Sports are the backbone of Gatorade products, and have now revolutionized this product into a global brand.  Gatorade not only fuels people with its products, but it now gives them a reason to get out there and find their strengths.  Through new interactive marketing techniques Gatorade is getting their audience more involved.  Currently they have a campaign where you can design your own Gatorade bottle showing how you “#WinFromWithin”.  The new message of Gatorade is really about finding yourself as an athlete and aiming towards your goals.  Support from a number of professional athletes back up this bands credibility, while also supporting its general message.  Their statement under their Twitter account sums up what the overall brand is about: “Fueling athletic performance since 1965.  #WinFromWithin”.

A recent Gatorade commercial summarizes the development of Gatorade as a brand:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwEomDcoG1c

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With so many different soda brands out there, products have begun to reinvent themselves like Mountain Dew.  The message of Mountain Dew is to get the energy you need to conquer anything.  The main site mainly seems to target a younger male demographic, focusing on high-energy sports and events.  Just like their drink, the Mountain Dew campaigns are in your face bold.  This brand has turned away from the traditional selling and has tried to captivate its audience with an amplified way of living life.

This Youtube clip shows how Mountain Dew has singers endorse their product, while mutually supporting their brand:

Differentiation is key in today’s market.  Based on what I have seen digitally about these three brands I have concluded that the Red Bull brand engages its audience the most.  As a brand that supports the idea that people can do anything, they really have pushed the limits.  With their different campaigns that defy the way we live our lives, and the way they market them on the Internet definitely captures interest no matter if you’re adventurous or not.  In relation to Red Bull, I think that Gatorade and Mountain Dew haven’t taken as many risks.  They have made good changes for the future of their brands, but Red Bull has taken leaps to make their brand name known.

The Conversation You Don’t Know You’re Having

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As a part of the Millennial Generation, the evidence is clear that traditional mass marketing has disappeared.  This change has come quickly, and pushes for constant new developments for the future.  The number of social mediums available to audiences is immense and will continue to expand in the coming years.  We see less and less people using traditional forms of media and turning to the digital world.  With the vast amount of information now available it takes a lot more to get a person’s attention, and to keep them around long enough to care.

Marketing has become more than a relationship, it is about building trust. “Today, PR has become a dialogue with a much wider range of influencers (Stuart Feil)”.  A conversation has started between the customer and brand.  It is the duty of the business to keep the customer talking.  Developing this loyalty is crucial to keeping the brand relationship alive.  Every customer is listening and taking in new information.  It is the brand’s job to intervene and be vocal about what makes their brand different from the rest.  To produce overall success brands need to strategically find their niche in the market and then develop a plan that keeps their customer coming back for more.  Keep in mind that “Your experience is not their experience.”

Customer engagement gives brands the chance to take control and inspire new topics  which the customer also has control over.  In the new age it is not about advertising anymore it is about having a conversation.  Our products talk to us and we talk back.