Brand Matters: Brand Dreaming
Walt Disney reminded us, "If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse."
Listen to Build Dreams
Customers can't always articulate their dreams in precise ways that translate into marketing and merchandising plans. But they can tell you about their wishes and desires and things they wish could be different in some way. Every brand manager's job is to be a very active listener and a good "read-between-the-lines" synthesizer and translator. This is not just for large companies—every brand shares this responsibility.
John Vitek, president of Saint Mary's Press, a nonprofit Catholic publisher, did just that. When this brand expanded into the college market, it learned that professors didn't want off-the-shelf textbooks. Instead, professors often patched together articles from various sources and chapters from a few books to create specialized curriculums just for their students. Saint Mary's Press listened closely to the professors' desires and gave them just what they wanted: Professor's Choice, Custom Theology Books. Vitek states, "Customization—the ability to meet any individual customer's wishes without delay—is an extraordinary competitive advantage. Suddenly, you become a value to a whole segment of the market that never saw you as a value before. In the world of customization, the customer is in the driver's seat."
Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers is another company that listens closely and responds to customers' dreams in several creative ways. In business for 36 years building beautiful, handcrafted fine furniture, Thos. Moser has always been in the aspirational business. Marketing Manager Scott Wentzell shares that "many people discover us at one stage of their life and may spend years getting our catalog, visiting our showrooms and visualizing the pieces of Moser furniture they want to own ‘someday' before actually making a purchase. We let them dream!"
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.