Do you need a good brand to be successful?

Post by 
Sergio DeSoto
October 24, 2017

I have to get this out of my head because it is killing my sleep schedule. I stay up late and can’t reason why I have experienced this phenomenon more than once. It grieves my soul! Causes anxiety as I lay there and try to understand why these beautiful rules and methodologies laid out by the greats like Reis and Reis can be ignored and why I can sit across from a multi-millionaire who owns a massively powerful and successful company who has no idea what I am talking about. Positioning statement? Churn Rate reduction and client engagement programs? Demographic targeting? 

The misnomer

There are successful companies that do not have good brands. Many, many, many ventures gain traction and enjoy massive sales, often in the reign of having a tv show or covers on magazines, yet their core branding is horrible, they have no position and could give two hoots about truly targeting a demographic, their best demographic. They line-extend their offering, and YES people buy it! They dilute their core brand; they talk to the entire world, and they think because they are doing perspectively well that they are doing it right. 

A huge problem exists and needs to be addressed. What these moguls do not see and are a massively unfortunate event is if… 

If they had a good position. If they had a solid brand that was built and present right.If they built new brands for separate offerings.If they target their core.If they enacted appropriate churn management. If they took a step back and asked themselves what could I have done better?

They might just see how much beautiful brands matter and just how much better, more profitable and impactful their offering would be. Regardless of how you get to where you are, your brand is your brand, and your customer's minds are in fact your customer's minds. The right message to the right customer that invokes a buying decision matters.  

I have consulted for franchises across the country that follow the core groups lead. They call me because they are hurting, sales are dead and corporate is looking down at them. Then the challenges begin. 

More than once I have pulled sales data and sat down with an owner and asked them who do you believe is your best customer? More often than not they will give me the same model as the corporate marketing team. 

Well, guess what?

It is more often than not, wrong. Here is an example. 

I consulted for an entertainment offering in a suburb of Chicago. They had top 40 music playing, white police officers in gear patrolling the grounds on a Friday night and the materials being used were primarily based on a white upper class demographic, the demographic that was west of the facility. 

No emotion, simply by using real sales data presented in Tableau/, using my eyeballs on a Friday night and then comparing the two the demographics to determine who "loved" this facility, who spent the most time in this facility and who spent the most money in this facility turned out to be the opposite of who they thought it was. 

As it turns out the core offering was being absorbed by people who lived EAST of the facility, they were African American and were in a different financial bracket than the market the owners was attempting to please. 

We made some simple changes which included the music mix, the overall feeling of the environment and adjusted the parks visuals to speak directly to the target. 

Up 200% in one year. Go figure and yet still. No Position, we could not address this because it was instilled by the franchisor. Imagine the possibilities. 

I had to go against what Corporate was branding to make this place profitable, even though corporate has been on TV, the cover of magazines and the owner recognized as a leader in this industry.  The franchise group is doing extremely well-selling franchises but the franchisee's are not realizing the same success in many cases due to the branding it bought into.  

If the branding was right the word success could be confidently adhered to.

A mental conundrum at it's finest.

Take a moment and ask yourself what if? What if my brand was right, I had a solid position; my manufactured products had their unique brands and my core market loved me. What would that beautiful picture look like? 

More sales. Better customer interaction. Higher return rate and so on… 

Any feedback as to why owners feel they are doing it right even though a good marketer knows deep down in their gut they are not would be greatly appreciated! 

   In Closing, yes, you can be “successful” with a crappy brand, but you will never be as successful as you could have been!  

something to #chewon! 

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