Why do you go for an iPhone every time?” When asked this question, many Apple fans might try to give you a long list of how an iPhone is better than the other smartphones in the market. But who are we kidding? Deep down, there’s a strong force that urges people to buy an iPhone or a Macbook- and it’s the brand perception of Apple.
If there is something beyond technology and customer service which has ensured Apple’s continual positioning among the top valued brands, it’s the way it has connected with the minds of its customers. Steve Jobs had rightly said that the chance to make a memory is the essence of brand marketing. There is a lot organisations of all kinds can learn and emulate from the success stories of Apple and the other extremely successful brands, which have managed to build a niche positioning in the market by the sheer value of their brand perception, above everything else.
The key for brands is to target not just the wallets of their customers, rather their hearts. A relation based on product and pricing may be challenged by the change of economic situations or the introduction of another slightly compelling value proposition in the market. However, it would take much longer to belittle an emotional bond established between a brand and its customers, irrespective of whether the brands are B2B or B2C.
In what might be a bit unusual finding, Google research found that the emotional connection is actually stronger for B2B interactions than B2C ones; that might have to do with the high investments and risk involved in a B2B deal relative to a B2C one. One of the most essential steps in emotionally effective marketing is to develop a strong messaging that tells your customers about what you believe in, rather than just trying to push what you are selling. It’s equally crucial to be transparent and trustworthy in your communications with your customers across various touch points.
The quality of your product offering is definitely very important and will always remain so; however, it’s not sufficient to build a strong brand that can stand strong in all kinds of situations. Even a brand like Nike had to modify its strategy to more marketing oriented after it hit the $1 billion revenue mark. So, does that mean all companies need to transform into marketing companies if they need to thrive? An interesting answer was given by Nike founder Phil Knight in an interview to Harvard Business Review. He said: “For years, we thought of ourselves as a production-oriented company, meaning we put all our emphasis on designing and manufacturing the product. But now we understand that the most important thing we do is market the product. We’ve come around to saying that Nike is a marketing-oriented company, and the product is our most important marketing tool. What I mean is that marketing knits the whole organisation together. The design elements and functional characteristics of the product itself are just part of the overall marketing process.” The wise thing is to weave together an amazing product/solution offering with a compelling messaging that tugs at the heart strings of the consumer.
A company advertising that it has the best offer may not necessarily appeal to a customer as much as a brand which involves its customers in a campaign that one feels honoured to be a part of. It’s necessary to understand what motivates the customers’ buying decisions. It’s time to move beyond the product, change perceptions, think outside the box and deliver an experience and a feel-good factor. A high combined IQ of your workforce isn’t enough if the EQ values are not up to the mark.
Send a message, move the heart, then present a good product backed by great customer service and chart the journey together with the customer making him feel good about his decision. Once you win the hearts, getting a major share of the wallets wouldn’t be an issue; however, the reverse strategy mightn’t work in the long term. While designing your next offering, pause and think- how it will make the customer feel- and depending on the answer, work your way through it. If you can make your customer feel good, your job is done.