It’s easy to get noticed.
It’s not easy to convert.
A brand that’s visible, and a brand that sells, are two different things.
Look at actors. There are so many young, good-looking actors whose faces we can put a name to, but they have no movies/projects signed and have no work at all.
Or look at politics. Being a politician whose face is known is very different from actually winning an election.
I think we need to simplify marketing speak such as ‘cut through the clutter’ or ‘grab eyeballs’ or ‘get attribution back to the brand’, and focus on just two powerful things.
2 Word of mouth
Maybe, but why complicate?
Like the classic “hedgehog” idea outlined by Jim Collins in Good to Great, very few things actually make a difference in the marketplace.
Every purchase decision you have ever made, if drilled down to its core, will boil down to either vicinity or word of mouth.
Vicinity can be explained by
1 The restaurant/ tea-stall near your office
2 The grocer, tailor, laundry, vegetable vendor, school, tuition class, mall, watering hole, theatre and beauty salon near your home
Vicinity dictates most of your fixed spending patterns; physically, it’s a part of your daily commute or fits your weekly routines.
Word of mouth is relevant for most of our high-ticket spends.
1 Higher education (vicinity is a consideration for schools, not higher education)
2 Doctors for major high-cost procedures
3 Fine dining, travel, and cars
Word of mouth dictates most of your discretionary expenditure.
Various versions of word of mouth and vicinity often come together to create an exciting cocktail that dictates our actions. The way your brand experience is designed at the product/service level will create word of mouth.
Even the very complicated ‘luxury’ category sells by pure word of mouth. Every luxury purchase is propelled by the lasting image of admiration from peers and strangers who will perceive you to be rich and successful! And they will spread the word, which is simply priceless.
The twist: your digital feed.
The modern-day definition of vicinity has to include what shows up on your mobile phone in response to a search, or disguised as push notifications from downloaded apps. Power in your palm.
The modern-day definition of word of mouth has to include influencers who have built themselves as subject matter experts, and are aligned fully with the category.
Be spiritual about marketing: Resist temptation
Since the science is so simple, it takes an almost spiritual detachment to say no to all the temptations today.
Temptation 1: Let’s take a brand ambassador
Of course, it works when fully aligned. However, sometimes, the brand may or may not spend a few lakhs to do fitment research to identify the right ambassador. Once the brand goes into the market hunting for that specific ambassador, agents may say that person is not available and sell you someone else. And pushed by pressure, millions get spent on an ad films that have no harmony with the brand. This is so common, it’s almost funny how even very seasoned brands make this mistake.
Temptation 2: Let’s entertain customers with our ads
Another temptation is to ‘entertain’ your customers with funny ads, hoping that it will help sell products. Suicidal. People consume entertainment in a very different frame of mind- not necessarily tuned to decision making.
It takes spiritual restraint to reach an interested customer – be available to them at a price they think is right and make the customer your evangelist, sharing their interaction with your brand with just one more potential customer.
Imagine a 1,000 such stories you could set in motion today. This should be at the core of your product design.
What are you waiting for?
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)