Branding should be huge part of every company’s marketing plan. If it isn’t you are missing a very important connection that many consumers look for. In today’s marketplace there is always a substitute product, and if you disagree, I would argue that you do not know your market well enough. With the overwhelming amount of options consumers are faced with every day it is sometimes difficult to distinguish yourself from your competition. This has resulted in businesses trying to connect with their customer on a more personal level to help solidify their brand.
One way several businesses have built long lasting brand recognition is by taking on a “Do Good” corporate philosophy. My favorite example of this is Toms Shoes. What started as Blake Mycoskie’s personal project turned into a world-renowned humanitarian movement. I do not personally own a pair of Toms Shoes; however, I know dozens of people who do, and most of them will vow to never buy another brand of shoes ever again. This brand dedication comes from a sense of good will customers feel when purchasing the shoes along with the high quality of the product itself. Since the overwhelming success of Toms several other companies have adopted the “buy one give one” philosophy in hopes of coat tailing on its reputation. Warby Parker is one of those companies. Warby Parker is an eyeglass manufacture/retailer that makes high quality eye wear for affordable prices, and donates a pair for every pair sold. Warby Parker “sales have jumped by several hundred percent each year since its 2010 launch.” Do you own a pair of Warby Parker glasses or Toms shoes? If so what inspired you to make the purchase?
Another way businesses have inspired customers to make purchases is through selling more than just a product. Some businesses are now marketing themselves in such a way that customers are buying a sense of community when they purchase products. This type of business plan can be traced back to Live Strong. No one bought a plastic yellow bracelet because it was a quality bracelet. You bought one because it stood for cancer research, and it made you an active member of that community. Lululemon Athletica has found its niche in the high-end athletic clothing world by developing a feel good, inspirational, goal oriented community. “In addition to yoga and health, we’re also passionate about helping our guests create a life they love through the power of goal-setting.” “People care about our brand because they feel connected to it and what we stand for,” said Laura Klauberg, senior vice president of community and brand. Using the community driven philosophy has allowed Lululemon to open 60 new stores over the past two years.
We have developed a need for connectivity, and we are now looking beyond social media to fill that void. We want to feel a deeper connection with the shoes we wear, the gym we go to, and the music we listen to.
Entrepreneur Magazine, April 2013, Andruss. Paula, “7 Bewitching Brands” (pg 48)