Brand & Marketing: The Fundamentals

Here is a list of the three marketing fundamentals that I believe are essential for every marketer. They are very simple, but many of us often forget about them.

Know your audience

Many marketers are in love with their products and services, and that is great.

I start to believe that it is even better for each marketer to be part of his/her own target audience. Still, as you start spending days and months thinking about how great your product is, your thoughts may become biased and disconnected with your actual audience and what they are looking for.

Conducting regular qualitative and quantitative surveys, creating a Slack Channel to engage with some of your most loyal users, reviewing the latest complaints and reading regularly through the comments on your social media channels helps to stay connected to your tribe.

Now, it is important not to fall into the trap of 'trying to please everyone'. This is where a concept, such as the High Expectation Customer comes in. This concept helps you define the person who you should be listening to (most of the time).

Drafting surveys and facilitating discussions can be sometimes a bit of a headache. How do we know that the question we ask gives us the correct response? Does everyone understand the question in the same way? I was recently talking to the Global CMI at Harry's, who suggested that before running a questionnaire it is best to give your questions to some other team members, ideally some external people too, to discuss them and make them 'foolproof'.

Keep it simple

Once you are clear on who your audience is and start drafting your marketing messages, you have to ask yourself - does my audience understand what I'm talking about?

Especially for products that are a bit more complex than for instance a rose fragrant shower gel, it is crucial to know what level of understanding your target audience has. It is unlikely that your consumers have the same level of expertise about the market or industry than you do. The easier the product or service can be explained to them, the more curious they are to find out more.

We often get tempted to draft fun messages or use complicated jargon, but in most cases, the 'average Joe' just wants to know - in a fraction of seconds - what it is that you offer and how does this help him/her to get on with his/her life now.

That doesn't mean marketing messages shouldn't use fun or complex copy, but the copy should be 'easy to digest'.

If you use image and copy together on the same asset, it is really helpful to make the image communicate what you say in the copy. Sounds simple, right?

Well, it seems that some people still make everything quite complex... Here, a recent example of an ad in a London tube station - at a first blink you would think Marsh&Parsons was selling shampoo :)

Think long term

During my time at Dove, there was one thing that fascinated me over and over again - the ability to continue growing a brand that can almost be considered a dinosaur.

If you are living in an urban city and shop vegan, Dove may not be your first choice (maybe some years ago, but not today!) and you might wonder why these guys have never been thinking about doing vegan editions to stay relevant etc.

Well, Dove isn't about following trends, but about adopting trends in a Dove-way whilst continuously delivering its most important benefit (superior care). As one of the EVPs once said 'Dove cares about care and if people don't care about care, we don't care about them'.

As consumers become less loyal to brands, it seems very tempting to follow them rather than to stay true to your mission and values. However most big and successful brands today managed to make decisions about what they do and especially about what they don't do. In return, this has given them a strong position and loyal following.

Whether small or large, it is important to define early on what you do and don't do (NPD, communication etc.), so people know what you stand for and associate you with unique values that create a strong brand in the long term.

Any thoughts? Email :)