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Going from good to great... brand building

Building brands is no easy matter. Brand marketing has never been more challenging, complex and competitive as it is today. This is the first in a series of three blogs that outlines the common pitfalls brands make and provides insights on how to go from good to great brand building.
Not being true to your brand equity

Not being true to your brand is critical to build long-lasting equity with consumers. Many marketers do not truly understand their brand equity or they execute campaigns that are not true to the brand. Clearly defined brand equities work the best.

Your brand equity is what your brand stands for and what you want your brand to mean to consumers. Understanding your brand equity means asking these questions: Who are you? What's your brand performance and imagery? What judgments and feelings should consumers have about your brand? What's the relationship your brand and consumers should have?

Take Red Bull. It's an energy drink that is all about performance. Red Bull would want consumers to believe that for better performance they would need Red Bull, as only Red Bull offers superior performance.

TIP 1: Be clear on the similar traits your brand has to the competition and your Unique Selling points (USP) - where you're superior to the competition.

Take Dove. Their equity is about understanding inner beauty and women, then bringing that out through superior moisturising beauty products.
  • Their similar traits are: cleans, comes in same format and sizes.

  • Their USP: functional, superior moisturising and superior understanding of the inner beauty of women.
What is important is that they started out as a soap but didn't limit themselves to soap in their equity; it's a bigger equity that enables them to talk to women about beauty with multiple products without diluting their equity. Dove gets women's view of themselves as indicated by their latest "sketches" campaign but sees their potential and real beauty and has products that deliver to them. That is why women trust Dove.

TIP 2: How you communicate your brand equity must be consistent throughout your campaigns; every element must reinforce and be true to your brand equity.

TIP 3: Be mindful that promotions can build equity and design promotions that are fully in line with your brand equity or that enhance and build brand equity.

Who is your consumer?

Marketers make the mistake of classifying their consumers from a purely demographic perspective. While demographics do play a role, they don't talk to the motivations of consumers. If you don't take the personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of consumers into account when you design a campaign - the psychographics - it may be off the mark and therefore not connect your brand with its consumers.

TIP 1: Have a very clear understanding of the psychographics of your prime prospects, think of it this way: psychographics determine why consumers buy your brand, it's critical for who you are and the message you communicate; you can't connect and resonate with consumers unless your message reaches out to them.

TIP 2: Consumer motivations cut across demographic profiles. Understanding where the bulk of your consumers sit demographically, as defined by their psychographics, helps determine where those consumers are and how best to reach them, but demographics don't determine your message.

For example a few years ago omo had a "dirt is good" campaign. That campaign did not focus on parents in a specific demographic but rather spoke to moms who would like to encourage their children to explore freely and not be held back due to them. This does not target a certain demographic as most parents would believe this but rather a psychographic. The execution may differ by demographic though.

TIP 3: Ask your brand builder to define who the consumers are of your brand and if they start by saying LSM 6-8 you know they have got it all wrong. If they reply with a psychographic profile of who your consumers are and why, then go on to describe where demographically the biggest chunk sit, you can take heart that they are on the right track.

TIP 4: Psychographic profiling is done both quantitatively and qualitatively, and is essential to uncovering why consumers are buying a product. It often starts with the shopper or in focus groups where underlying motivations are revealed. These are then tested by quantitative data and thereafter developed into campaigns. Ideally you want to identify the consumer's unmet functional or emotional needs with your brand messaging.

In conclusion, it is essential that marketers relook the way they are classifying their consumers and start with psychographic profiling if they are to ensure their brand really connects with consumers.

How can we help you?

Aperio has vast experience building some of SA's biggest and most innovative brands. We do this through our superior knowledge of how to understand consumers, retailers and tie this together with best-in-class internal and external processes. We help companies build brands for today and the future by identifying gaps, training up your organisation and leading the execution - we believe we are what we deliver.


About Michael Wood

Michael Wood is co-founder and Director of Aperio, a business consulting company focused on accelerating growth of FMCG brands in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Michael has many years international experience where he held the positions of Marketing Director, Sales Director and Managing Director with the Gillette company and Procter & Gamble.

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    Aperio is a business consulting company focused on accelerating growth of FMCG brands in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. We understand the challenges FMCG businesses have on a day-to-day basis and guide multi-national companies to achieve greater results in the region.
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