The Art of persuasive branding
Persuasive branding is a science. A decade ago, Stealing Share went rogue. We specialize in persuasive branding.
We challenged brand orthodoxy and promised the rebranding we do and the brands we create would be persuasive. It was a revolution. Hard as it is to believe, branding agencies don’t see persuasion as one of their responsibilities.
Traditional branding agencies don’t think that is needed or correct. It is just an afterthought.
Traditional Branding Agencies
They continue to hold onto old-school brand theory about equities, not persuasion. They think that is someone else job. They mean the static symbols and design elements used in brand identity. Go ahead and ask them. Then call us. We love to talk about our process. The other companies believe persuasion must be left to advertising and marketing.
If you can afford this much waste in your marketing budget, go here (Interbrand). They are folks who love to live by the rules. We break the rules.
Persuasive branding is the WHY
Persuasive branding breaks the rules. We are constantly upping our game. During this exploration, we uncovered the truth about branding. Powerful brands always reveal why you are doing whatever it is you do. Because they are the reason “why,” they must be persuasive by their very nature; if they are not, then they have no clarity.
Consider, for a moment, Apple. Remove your preconceptions for a moment. Love or hate them, one thing is agreed— Apple makes terrific electronic devices and aesthetically beautiful products.
They invented how our computers work, how we listen and purchase music, communicate, and an entire genre of portable devices. They also exemplify persuasive branding.
Persuasive branding. How is that? It’s obvious. They charge a premium for everything they sell. And customers pay that premium. Their margins are robust, and their profit is double that of competitors. Ask yourself why? Because Apple defined its brand by identifying its customers as different and better, they told the world that Apple was for people who “think different.”
The heart of persuasive branding is for the prospect/customer to see your brand and FEEL it is for people like them. When you build that bond with your brand, prospects feel incomplete without owning whatever you sell. We invented a behavior modeling science to uncover those emotional persuasive branding intensities. And you are invited to read about it in-depth right here.
As a marketer, you must compensate for the lack of brand persuasion through tactics and targeting. If you are not segmenting your market, you are undoubtedly spending more than needed. But market segmentation is only part of your persuasive branding story. And it is the tail end of the story. Persuasive branding.
In the self-serving world of commercial advertising, the costs of advertising messages continue to skyrocket. And it is progressively getting less effective. The stakes are high because the price of failure is high, yet the promised land of success remains elusive. Micro-targeting, mainly through social media, is essential today. It’s the latest form of market segmentation.
Persuasive branding makes that more effective. We base our modern brand strategy on the idea that brand is most important because it IS the customer’s identity.
Call us, and we will show you how this revolutionary model works. Persuasive branding. Everything in the market today proves Stealing Share and persuasive branding was right.
How do you judge the effectiveness of the brand’s communication? Advertising awards? Critical acclaim? Peer commentary? Employee reaction? Competitive reaction?
While all of these may be important, sales growth is the only accurate measure of success in advertising. It seems obvious to measure an ad campaign’s success by looking at sales increases (or decreases). However, most significant advertisers settle for critical (creative) acclaim first and mediocre sales results second.
They have no accurate means of measuring sales increases due to advertising success. Here is why.
Let’s talk about the three critical elements of successful advertising, two of which ad agencies and marketing departments already do well. Let’s grade each aspect as we go.
Identification and the limits of market segmentation.
Persuasive branding is not what ad agencies do. Ad agencies are not persuasive branding practitioners. But, in fairness, they do a few things well. If they possess any disciplines, there might be three. The first discipline is IDENTIFICATION, and we give agencies a B+.
Identifying the correct target audience is crucial to success. You must find and understand the market you wish to influence.
When they are not self-serving and therefore self-deluded, marketing departments do a respectable market segmentation job to identify those potential customers who offer the most significant opportunity for increased sales. The traditional market segmentation method – segmenting into primary, secondary, and tertiary markets – has been supplanted by a much sharper understanding of the usage and habits that define the target audience.
Advertising agencies and their media departments have market segmentation down to a science. It begs the question. What are the limits of market segmentation? Does it lead to persuasive branding? They can identify a particular market segment’s media habit to such an acceptable degree that the myriad choices of media placement and frequency seem to have the clinical precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. Market segmentation is not magic.
Remember that the recommendations are not as precise as their ad placement. There is no science of media placement. Two different agencies may have very different media recommendations, both most certainly based on sound thinking.
However, reach and frequency is founded on preconceptions based on experience. No fundamental law states that an “X” number of impressions is necessary to stimulate action. These numbers are based on experience. But experience with generally failed advertising — but more about that later.
The second discipline is NOTIFICATION, and we give it an A-. To be successful at notification, the identification discipline discussed earlier must be mixed with the creative juices that break all the ad clutter and get potential customers to “sit up and pay attention.”
You must reach the correct target audience and find a way to get them to notice your message. The myth of the information age makes that a daunting task. Market segmentation can help with this. It is, however, the main skill set of major ad agencies.
They have the creative ability to entertain, and many of the advertisements they create become part of pop culture lore. Visigoths are trying to find new jobs, from milk mustaches to athletes’ sweat glands dripping with an action beverage — creative images abound. They have no new ideas in brand persuasion.
Agencies tout their creative prowess and bandy about phrases like “breakthrough advertising,” “creative firepower,” and “award-winning creative development.”
The special effects, high-intensity soundtracks, and high-priced talent have made commercial production the equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Many of the commercials are better at entertaining than the programs they sponsor. Some of it is funny stuff. Prisoner to ad agencies. It certainly gets your attention.
They make you temporarily stop what you are doing and look up. In an age of advertising creativity, the ability to entertain has never been higher. But is it persuasive branding? Persuasion (not always reflected in market segmentation) The third and most important discipline is PERSUASION, which we give a C-.
In general, many receive a flat-out F. So much advertising now is simply an entertaining skit with either no point or promoting a table stake. It is as if the market struggles only to influence customers who have decided to switch brands independently.
However, the largest segment (as identified by market segmentation) is the pool of customers rooted in the status quo. Stealing share means grabbing market share from your competitor’s brand camp and making them your own, prompting consumers to change and not just waiting for them to change.
Persuasive Branding is the critical key.
The skill of Persuasive branding. A selling argument must engage both the left and right brain to be persuasive. It needs to build intimacy with the customers to see themselves in the brand message and visualize themselves as part of the brand. Market segmentation can help refine this. It needs to reach out and build empathy so that the brand message is received sympathetically and not as a broad challenge. It must represent current beliefs in the target market yet not seem so trendy to be dismissed.
How many commercials do you see? Think about the number of commercials you have seen in the past year that is so remarkably entertaining that you repeat the storyline to a friend at the office coffee pot only to struggle to recall anything other than the punchline.
Such a commercial is memorable. But it can’t be considered persuasive if you can’t even remember the brand. Today, everyone wants to produce hip and humorous advertising—the funnier and more absurd, the better. The problem with this tactic is that humor has a short shelf life.
The joke may be more memorable than the message. Ad agencies love humor because it wins awards, clients love it because it makes them feel progressive, and customers love it for entertainment. But not for the reason it is intended—the art of persuasion.
To be effective, commercials must use persuasive branding messaging derived from the target audience. Otherwise, you are spending money on a skit to get a consumer to choose you—brand as an afterthought — The key to persuasive branding.
You can ensure that your advertising messages are working as hard as possible to ensure that your brand definition has been created in a mode to be all about persuasive branding. The brand is often a theoretical afterthought considered by the agency in a single line entitled “Desired Brand Image.”
Your ability to persuade new customers is locked into your brand permissions and highlighted by market segmentation. Businesses know their profits are determined at the signing of the sales contract.
In persuasive branding, your effectiveness is determined when your brand charter is created. The permissions that arise from this brand charter determine the nature of your advertising and the delivery of the promise of that brand. The advertising is the suit of clothing, and the brand is the body it covers.
Wearing clothing that does not suit the body makes it seem uncomfortable, awkward, and ill at ease.
Almost all advertising works to some degree and is better than not advertising. Having a voice in the market will deliver some results because being considered requires being known. However, this differs significantly from being preferred and coveted as a brand.
Being on target with persuasive branding. Changing ad agencies usually brings a bump in sales, not because you have made a great choice in the new agency. But because changes in your advertising messages stir attention.
Choosing an old-school branding company without the skills of persuasive branding is playing in the past. Keep your brand consistent and hold onto persuasive branding as your goal. Keep your advertising fresh. Keep your market segmentation finely tuned.
Wear a new suit of clothes to work, and your colleagues will comment because a change from the expected is worthy of note. Wear a new clothing style to work, not in keeping with the person they have already come to know, and they will also comment.
But the most telling comments are whispered behind your back.