December 09, 2014 / Branding Branding Starts With the Customer

Russ Green

By: Russ Green

Branding starts with the customer

It's essential to think beyond your product features and benefits and look more deeply into your customer's situation for better engagement.

Over the past year or so, we’ve been working to enhance (and write about) our ability to gain important insights into the target audiences for our clients’ branding and marketing communications.

Since we are exclusively B2B at Godfrey, and we tend to work with a lot of technology-oriented companies, it isn’t always easy to get everyone thinking beyond the product features or the direct benefits they provide. But as the whole communications landscape evolves, it is essential to think about the customer’s situation, problem, challenge, motivation, need…so that we engage him or her in the first place.

So it is gratifying when highly-technical B2B marketers “get” the concept and change the way they do branding and marketing. Instead of talking about Godfrey in this post, I thought I would share a summary of what one technology company recently launched to its global marketing organization. It is totally aligned with our dual philosophies of insight-driven strategies/concepts and unified marketing communications

These are my words based on a lengthy presentation. For anonymity all specifics are removed but I hope the flavor comes through:

“Everything is changing – our markets, the media, our customers, our competition. We have begun to change to a more market-focused organization. Now we need to continue that change in marketing by getting closer to the customer’s perspective while we continue to promote our brand differentials and core values.

“This includes making a more emotional connection and creating real dialogue. We will do this by looking more diligently for the customer benefit in all of our messages, first by understanding the customer’s situation. By storytelling that goes beyond technical features to real outcomes important to the customer. By emphasizing [the two most important buying criteria according to a customer survey.] By differentiating [the brand]. And by unifying communications so we connect with customers and all audiences (buyers, influences, users, etc.) everywhere along their buying journey.

“To implement this concept, we are introducing tools and templates to help you execute reputation-building marketing and sales-oriented marketing. These tools will align marketing actions with strategy and help us achieve consistency around the world.”

If you're launching a similar initiative in your marketing efforts, keep in mind that it's key to get beyond product features and even simple benefits and look more deeply into your customer's situation for better engagement.

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