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glossary of internet related terminology from whatis.com.

 

 





Stop Creating Brand and Start Generating Revenue
by Rob Gelphman

There’s a fallacy in marketing that goes something like this: Mr. Senior Marketing Manager sits in a meeting where he controls 30% of his company’s products. He listens to the quarterly report on sales and determines that his division needs to do SOMETHING to get sales up higher; after all, his bonus is based on translating marketing into sales. So he tells his people that they’ve got to "focus on creating a brand." Diligently, his staff goes about creating a brand strategy, managing brand assets and defining the brand. Next quarter comes around, sales haven’t improved. Now Mr. Senior Marketing Manager is confused — why hasn’t branding his products enhanced sales? What went wrong.

What went wrong was that Mr. Senior Marketing Manager focused on the wrong strategy. Instead of creating a brand, that intangible good-will and relationship a company has with its customers, Mr. Senior Marketing Manager should have been POSITIONING his products against the competition. Brand, position — what’s the difference? Plenty.

In order to understand where we, as marketers, went wrong, a historic review is in order. Over the last ten years, many technology-based companies devoted effort and money creating a brand image, when what they should spend money on is developing a position with their customers, competitors and allies. In an economy focused on profit and revenue, companies can't afford to build brands so much as build market share - which means targeting their efforts to key 'buying' customers. Brands come and go; positioning is where the rubber meets the road.

The latter half of the twentieth century was the age of BRAND. Each company tried to create an indelible mark in the minds of their customers by manipulating the intangible assets of trust and relationship building. These companies, many of them dot coms, did repetitive advertising; relationship marketing; co-sponsorships. Yet, I argue, they forgot the one key tenet of branding — branding takes time. Consider Clorox Bleach, their position is that they get clothes cleaner than other bleaches. And the Clorox Company has been consistent with that message for at least five years. Five years to create a brand. That’s a long time when you’re a small technology company or division under the gun for revenue and market share.

The reality is, before you create a brand, you’ve got to create a position. A position is that enviable place in the mind of your customer — where they not only recognize your product, but also know the attributes of your product by heart. The trouble is we, as marketers, have gotten away from positioning our products in the quest for the all-important brand.

A position incorporates those attributes of a product or service that can be controlled. For example, you can determine how large a package, how blue the packaging color, how much you are going to charge for that package, and what deals you’ll offer resellers or distributors. Also, create your position based on what the competition is doing — ideally creating a more beneficial product experience than the competition.

Take for example a client of mine, a semiconductor company in the multimedia processor space. A small private company, they didn’t have budget or time to create a brand. So we worked on positioning that company. We determined the key positioning factors of their competitors and evaluated attributes that would differentiate them from the competition. What we discovered is that their experience with graphic processors, early on in the company’s history, gave them a leg up on the competition in terms of customer service and customer education.

Those two historic factors became key components of their position in the market place. With positioning, a review of both the product attributes and the service and support around that product is key. Often with a commodity-based product, the key factors for positioning are found within service and support around that product.

We also began to define the market where the company’s products sold. Again, positioning played a key role in shaping that market. During their initial entry to the market, the competition had not clearly defined a name for the processor market. Because the market was dealing with a brave new world of digital television and Internet enhanced products, no one knew quite how to label these products = semiconductors, yes; processors, yes; but what kind of processors.

My client and I saw an opportunity to define the market space by creating a clear definition of what should be included in a streaming media gateway processor. We began using that definition as part of the company’s positioning efforts. We educated the purchasing and engineering audiences about the attributes of a streaming media gateway processor and what these audiences should look for when evaluating different media processors.

Is it working? We like to think so. In just over a year, the company’s revenue has increased X while we continue to refine their position in the marketplace. We haven’t done any ‘branding’ exercises or attempted to create a brand strategy — why? Because this company requires revenue, not brand or brand equity.

I propose that today, marketers should consider themselves as vehicles of communication. Communication incorporates positioning. The key in today’s world is to demonstrate value, not brand. Marketers should focus on those critical customers and audiences that will generate both short and long-term health for their companies. Marketers need to focus on creating a position, not a brand. I counsel my clients to focus on their position — know your customers, know your partners, know your competitors — stop creating sock puppets and start creating revenue — after all, all our job depends on it.

09/02
Rob Gelphman
Principal
Gelphman Associates
408.451.8420
robert@gelphman.com
www.gelphman.com

 


 

 

 

 

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