Brand Matters: Stop That!
As a merchandising and branding strategist, I abide by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen's profound axiom: "A product has a job to do for your customer."
In addition, I remind my clients their products (or services) either enhance their brand or detract from it. Right now, I am in the midst of finishing my upcoming book: "ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Your Merchandising Muse," and I am living in a verb-saturated world, contemplating all the ways a multitude of products and services from a vast collection of industries live up to Christensen's advice. Just how well do these individual products/services that surround us in—stores, on tablets and on phones—actually support, amplify and play to their brands' promises? It's a provocative question to ponder.
I am swimming in examples of positive product role models. Products and services that go to work for their brands every day. It has been a fun and fruitful journey of discovering product developers and service providers who go the extra mile to both woo and wow their customers.
It also is a reminder of the rigor it takes to turn brands into Lovemarks. You may remember that it was Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts who coined this term. It is simply defined this way: "Lovemarks are brands that reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can't live without. Ever."
Well, in researching my book, a strange thing happened. I became pestered by examples of products that do just the opposite. Products and services that stop short of living their brand promises.
I am purposefully choosing not to name names here. But I do encourage you to make a list of the products and services you experience in your own life that simply let you down, and look at that list carefully for lessons for your own brand.
Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. For 20+ years, Andrea’s joy has been inspiring clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants and ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.