Thursday, August 16, 2007

When the Market Changes, Should Your Brand Also Change?

Trends in the marketplace affect the appeal of your message and the profitability of your product. When the trends run counter to your marketing message, should you re-position your product?

Laura Ries says, "No." She discusses the Hellman's brand. Hellman's mayonnaise is full fat, so
What do you do when the world seems obsessed with dieting, fat and calories? When every product is promoting it is low-fat, fat-free, low-carb, high fiber or zero calorie? When everybody is on a diet, gobbling up calorie reduced manufacture foods yet still hungry, miserable and (at least in the U.S.) fat?
Most company executives and product managers would either modify the marketing message or come out with a "light" version of the product under the same brand.

What does Laura suggest?
Whatever your brand is, you have to deal with it. Pretending it isn't high fat isn't going to change what’s in the package. And promoting your “light” version just reinforces in the mind of consumers how “fattening” the regular version must be.

Like food, a brand is best when it is real, simple and focused. If opportunity strikes in another direction, companies should launch a new brand.
In other words, maintain brand focus.

1 comment :

Steve Johnson said...

I have to agree with Laura. You are what you are--embrace it. Brands are destroyed when the marketing people continually chase new messages. Those who follow trends never catch up because the trends always change.

McDonald’s doesn’t claim to be food that’s good for you; they offer a clean restaurant with food that tastes the same everywhere. I wish McDonald's would bring back the old oil for fries with a message, "If it tastes good, it's gotta be bad. Our fries will stop your heart so don't you want to be eating something that tastes great when it happens?"

Apple has said, "we're expensive and we're worth it." How many vendor products have ads that talk about quality but a sales force that undercuts that quality message with discounts.

Look at Rod Stewart. Rod was once a real rocker but then he followed every trend that came along and now he's a crooner. What is his "brand"? He has none. He won't be remembered after he's gone.

You are what you are--embrace it. Never hide from your strength.

Steve Johnson
Pragmatic Marketing
more at productmarketing.com