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  • The Brand Purpose Connects Customers

    At times in brand building, it is very enigmatic when it comes to fulfilling customers’ needs and wants to match with the brand’s purpose. Peter Drucker who was voted as the ‘Management Thinker of the Century’ had a saying “the customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him.”
    Many brands don’t actually know what they’re selling and to get to the core purpose of the brand really means to understand the core driver of your customer’s behaviour.
    To understand the core purpose of the brand by the understanding of the core driver of customer’s behaviour lets create an action plan to cognize the concept. Let’s take Pakistani banks’ old age schemes deal with things like pension products as an example. Mostly their target is salaried class, who are worried about their old age and about the stable income pattern that they are used to it throughout their lives. What really trouble is that almost all banks in Pakistan haven’t done the appropriate research on the service.
    They have forced notion about the service without appropriate understanding about retirement means to their target group and they got monotonous and traditional notions of retirement like; two old people on a porch, looking at the sunset, smiling at each other with family pictures at the background. They could enjoy the later years of their lives together. But it didn’t quite seem right. The banks should realize that they have an understanding of their target and they have been doing the research in the wrong way. They should also realise that to get to the core sort of the purpose of the brands’ services, these banks really have to sometimes get to the more emotional side of customers and using language is often not that easy.
    In this case, these banks should ask the question slightly differently. These banks should simply ask their target group to keep on projecting themselves into the future. From where they are now into the future and when they do so they should realise that majority of customers are not worried about their retirement in any sense. What they have are big dreams. They wanted to start a business when the traditional time of retirement came or they wanted to progress to certain fields by gaining higher education or courses. Or they wanted to give back to society in terms of philanthropy or they wanted to live at some hill station in harmony and away from the worldly hustle-bustle.
    Now, that is a deep customer insight and it really changed everything that these banks are so far doing. It could change their products because most of the products in the space are annuities, they kick in when one retires traditionally maybe around 65 and then you get a steady payment over time. But these big dreams, do not have the format of a steady payment over time. They come with a big payment at the moment of retirement. These banks should invent products. They also have to change the way the financial wealth planners interacted with these customers. It is a known fact that these banks and their staff are not used to speaking to their customers about their dreams. These banks should create some sort of a dream book, where the customers, typically a couple, can fill out their dreams into the future, which then provide a basis for the financial planner to engage with their customers. This can be a very powerful change for them.

    Furthermore, yet another important example of brand purpose, created by Hilti, ‘makes construction simpler, faster and safer.’ Hilti Group was founded in 1941, evolving from a small family start-up to a trusted global business. Today, Hilti is still family-owned, with its global headquarters in the Principality of Liechtenstein, where Martin Hilti established the company more than 75 years ago.
    Hilti understood very clearly that in business-to-business companies often forget that customers are not buying products. They’re buying solutions, and that’s been a big shift in business for many years. Hilti, where their business is fundamentally changed from selling tools, like drills and other power tools, to actually managing the tools for the customers. The customers, not only buying tools but solutions. They also do not want these tools to sit on their balance sheet. They do not know how to manage these tools and, Hilti, because they provided these tools to so many customers, invented different solutions, different services around this notion of tools for hire. So fundamentally changed the business model of Hilty and provide deeper and more purposeful value to customers.
    It is important in brand architecture to think of brand purpose, starts with deep customer insight and it then means building a business around that deep customer insight that provides better value to customers.
    Finally, it is very vital that companies’ employees understand the purpose their company is engaged in because of their high motivation. A deep purpose motivates your employees to be more productive, more engaged, and to provide more value to your customers. This has been shown in marketing and branding study after study. All of this has been shown to fuel productivity far more than any inspirational kind of speech that might have been given by the gatekeepers.
    The brand purpose is what connects the brand to the customer, but it also connects the employees to the customer, through the brand

  • Digital Experiences is a Consistent Way to Deliver on The Brand Promise!

    Like what Chinese proverb said, “If you don’t know how to smile then you have no right to open your shop.” Similarly, nowadays if you are not internet savvy then you have no right to be in the brand marketing business. Today’s brand landscape is about the digital transformation, the internet, the whole way the world’s been changing and the digital journey has been accelerating in full speed at the never-ending road.
    No matter if it is tangible or intelligible products or services, the answer is the digital journey to success. From online marriages to a slice of banana bread, the internet is playing a big role as a disintermediator.
    Whereas the internet is an essential tool of today’s marketing world, but the most important aspect of the internet is that it became an easy price comparison engine. So there were predictions made that basically, the internet is going to be this vast digital commodity pit. And it would be the greatest force of shifting value creation from experience and effectiveness to efficiency.
    But that’s not happened. Now, of course, efficiency is a great benefit. If a person thinks about some data show if he has a transaction which is face-to-face, the cost to the organization might be upwards even of Rs 500 to Rs 1000. A telephone interaction might be less expensive, it’s somewhere in the middle, maybe Rs 50 to Rs 150, maybe around Rs 200. And a digital interaction, often self-service, we’re talking about Rs 3-5. There’s a vast difference in cost between physical and digital experiences which has really kind of re-emphasized that efficiency focus. And taken companies away from thinking about experiences yet as we see digital data and digital opportunities of course exactly the opposite has happened. What has not happened as much, at least not for all companies, is to think about not just the journey as being one that’s convenient, smooth, easy to understand and intuitive. Which is kind of a generic way to make experiences that are digital and valuable?
    But to think about, how do we think about digital and the internet as part of the expression of any brand. Are there aspects of this journey that might be destroying the brand? Or are there ones we can use the digital aspects to enhance?
    Today’s brand landscape is part of that journey. If any company think about how do the company create a branded experience? Let’s go to Nespresso and their business model is not just about making high-end coffee machines and market it the coffee additive nations and in the non-coffee drinking nation like Pakistan whereas the trend is picking up among the middle-upper, upper and upper-upper classes of the country. But to Nespresso, it’s that whole club-like experience, where you’re a member of a club. And you get to have coffee advice on the telephone for example as in the West, and they spent a lot of money and they hired the right kind of people to deliver that experience. They’re part of Nestle and they really couldn’t survive and built that luxury coffee culture in their Nestle Headquarters. They created their own space, which was much more luxurious, wood-panelled walls, etc. they could have an authentic luxury experience over the telephone with their club members, their customers. Now when the Internet came along, this fed into Nespresso’s business model, they could enrich the experience even further. As a customer, you can now come and you can learn about the coffee in ways where you might not be so embarrassed to talk to somebody about coffee. They can provide a much richer interaction. They can show you where the beans came from, the way the beans are made through video and other sources. Therefore just learning about the coffee became richer. They also learned a lot more about you. What are the variants you looked at, they could update you in unobtrusive ways? Remind you of maybe when to order the coffee. They could invest in events like they invest in the events and amplify that investment by sharing that online. They could engage their customers. They have done things like your best golf shop for example. They are high-end customers many of them are golfers that provided a grand experience. And when it moved onto the mobile platform they’re in for quite a surprise, because it’s a massive investment for an espresso to go there. And they reached their sales targets far, far quicker, than they ever anticipated.
    It’s much easier for today’s consumers to grab their phone, to order it right then and there than to maybe go and boot up their computer and to follow the process to call, express on themselves. Brands in today’s landscape are spending a lot to enhance the brand experience, for examples, the Nike fuel band, the Disney magic band, the Lamborghini accessory. All of those things enhance the customer experience around what the brand tries to deliver, around the brand purpose if you will. Now it doesn’t look like branding like a logo would, but these are digital experiences that add up in a consistent way to deliver on the brand promise.

  • You just need a single word to build Brand Positioning!

    In today’s world, the environment for brands and their success is required upgrading brand architecture to a new level. The brand meaning to consumers and companies has been transforming into new dimensions. Whereas jumble of theories is in practices to create a web of confusion, but this is time to work smart by understanding approaches that are meaningful and easy to convert. Since ages, marketers are obsessed with the concept of brand positioning, but most of the time they have been overlooked the easiest way to sneak into their consumer mind. What they need to enter into consumers’ mind is a single word. Yes, a single word that empowers them to create a whole brand aura.      

    Just put the theory in motion; utter a single characteristic word to give someone a hint to recognize the brand. Here’s the word.

    ·     Safety

    Many respondents will have thought of the brand names those they think that are providing using word safety as category word. Like, Safeguard because safe is part of the word Safeguard. In Pakistan, the word safety is also being commonly used for disposable twin-blade razors. Some participants may have thought of Dettol and its related products to provide hygienic safety. But few participants would have thought of Volvo, even they have been little known in countries like ours. Volvo simply owned the term safety in people’s minds all over the globe. How do we think about that? Well, Volvo itself is the identity of the brand. It’s the brand name. It’s a registered trademark. Attached to that registered trademark are a set of associations. Some good, some not so good. If we think of the brand image, it is what do these associations mean to companies or more importantly, to their target customers? If you further said, Volvo and ask those people, who know the Volvo brand, to tell you what they think, some of them would’ve probably said, a bit boring even though they design some of the most exciting cars today. That image has stuck with them over the decades.

    Volvo’s challenge to build the brand is to protect safety for those consumers who care about safety, as their key purchasing criterion. It’s an image they’ve built over time with various advertisements, various images. And of course, they’ve invested in safety over the last 70 to 80 years. They’ve been consistently at the forefront of either inventing safety features or like the ABS brakes, which they did not invent, they made part of the standard car earlier than others did and it was still an optional feature for other cars. So, if you think of a brand, it is the identity, which is Volvo, its logo. The visual identity in many ways and its image this set of associations attached to the brand. And marketers think of their job is to enhance the brand image by negating negative associations and elevating positive ones. And of course, to protect the visual identity of their brand as well.

  • Creative Confusion in Pakistan

    Time to be creative. Time to be misunderstood.

    Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving. But it seems that in our beloved country creative problem solving is heading to a direction where we totally misunderstood the concept of creativity and its solutions. We, Pakistanis, are not stretching ourselves beyond our perceived level of confidence so we have failed to accelerate our development of creative competence.

    It is a dilemma in Pakistan that to be creative is to be misunderstood because there is common belief that creative people struggle more with being misunderstood than normal people.

    Why is this?

    • Because creative people think “outside of the box.” And the truth is that in our country above average people are often unaware that such a “box” even exists.
    • Because creative people ask dangerous questions. And being precarious is itself a risky where the majority are confused about creativity and have a very little idea that creative people test boundaries – not to be rebellious, but rather to simply explore.

    Creativity tends to teach people to dare and willing to fail – a quality that makes many people uncomfortable in our country.

    Creativity makes people unique – they are individuals – and this fact threatens the status quo more than any other. Pakistan is in grip of status quos unending struggle so no place of creativity in our social lifestyle or even in our self-concept.

    On the hand, creative confusion has also been proposed deliberately because creative people are so different and can be perceived as a threat to institutions. And this is unfortunate because many organisations are in dire need of more creativity. They’re just scared of the people who might bring it.

    Because the country is full of bureaucracy and systematic ways of approaching life, creatives often find themselves frustrated with attempts to fit in or be assimilated.

    And so, for the majority in our country, creatives are tragically misunderstood. At best, they are seen as a means to an end — a cog in the machine of producing propaganda for a cause. At worst, they are perceived as a threat that needs to be eliminated.

    There isn’t a pretty way out of this predicament. To be creative is to be misunderstood. That’s all there is to it.

    What alternative is there in a world of conformists and wannabes?

    And after all, who wants to fit in?

    Time to be creative. Time to be misunderstood.