Branding is not a process to follow, it’s a result.
The Brand MAP: Marketing Advertising Promotions
I had a conversation recently with a client in a meeting which made me think about how people are clueless about what branding as a concept means. My client said “I used to have a lot of problems while running. I love to run as an exercise it clears my mind. However, I have flat feet and my feet would hurt when I would run then I saw this video of Nike shoes and all the science that goes into designing their shoes. Till that point, I had avoided buying expensive sports shoes because I would go jogging for 2 or 3 days and then stop due to the pain. Then I put in some money and bought these shoes. Amazing shoes! I have been going for a jog every day now.
Conclusion from above: We need to do some branding activity like this.” Yet, the video made by Nike is not a part of their branding activity. It is a part of their marketing and communication. They have used multiple platforms for the promotional activities very well to enhance their brand.
People often use Branding as a blanket phrase to describe either marketing, advertising or promotions. Marketing and branding are often used as synonyms. This confusion merely illustrates the lack of clarity in people with regards to branding as a concept.
Many of the times I have heard people saying that they want to do branding or maybe they ask me how to do branding, I always make them understand that branding cannot be done, what can be done is developing a brand and Marketing it well. If this is happening, branding take care of itself. Branding is not a process, it’s a result.
Simply if I have to define branding, branding is the end product of insightful marketing, creative advertising and thoughtful promotion activities. Branding is a result of all these activities.
I always believe in the formulas and have come up with the new equation for
Brand = Marketing + Advertising + Promotions (MAP)
Marketing is the key message that you use to sell your products. This key message has to be developed through a consumer insight.
However, Nike did not market its product. Nike’s key message was that running was a great way to keep in shape. The consumer did not want new shoes, the consumer wanted a great way to exercise. Nike’s key messaging has always been about how good it feels to run and be in great shape. This marketing message lays the foundation of Nike’s branding strategy.
Nike is credited for the global jogging culture. Nike right from its inception promoted jogging and fitness. It is evident from this old ad. Notice how a key consumer insight became central marketing communication for the company.
Advertising is not just about highlighting a product feature. Advertising is a medium for emotional connect. Nike always puts emotion above the product. That’s why they “encourage you to just do it”. Don’t think about getting in shape ‘Just do it’. Every advertisement they put out is about excellence in fitness. This is a proper utilisation of their consumer insight and proper implementation of their marketing strategy. Nike’s advertisements are about YOU the consumer and not about their shoes at all. This makes advertising the key pillar of their branding mix. This way they advertise their brand more than their shoes. Branding is that abstract image you create in a consumer’s mind. This image inspires love and loyalty. Nike is excellent at creating that through their advertisements.
Promotions generally refer to sales promotions or PR activity conducted by a company. Nike has always had a unique presence in the print media. The company was recently in news for developing shoes that have laces that tie themselves. Nike uses its PR activities to highlight how they are developing better shoes for YOU their customers.
Once again the subtle focus of the communication is the target audience. Every feature is highlighted in a manner relevant to the reader or the viewer. Another example of promotional activity is the video mentioned in the beginning of this article. My client was influenced by a promotional video made by Nike because the video focussed on my client’s needs.
This ties the promotional mix to the overall brand creation. These activities once again send a simple message that Nike innovates because it wants to give the best to its customers. Promotions act as the final touch to Nike’s branding mix.
If you notice Marketing, Advertising and Promotions are three distinct activities. Nike combines them together with a central big idea to create the brand Nike. This has given Nike the global presence it so deserves. Perhaps, the main reason why it has worked so well is because Nike is passionate about running and fitness. Hence, their message resonates with everyone who comes in touch with it. The story of Nike is a lesson for all of us who are students of branding and entrepreneurship. It is time we took this lesson to our heart.
I would like to repeat first think for your customers need and requirement, create your product and communication keeping your audience in mind, keeping their challenge in mind. Changing times means new and different problems. New and Different problems demand new products, so Keep on upgrading your product.
Branding is the end product of insightful marketing, creative advertising and thoughtful promotion activities. Branding is a result of all these activities.
FOCUS on MAP Marketing + Promotion + Advertisement