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Brands need confidence


Last week I was asked to attend a meeting where a big client was sharing plans for a new product launch.

This is an impressive product and quite novel for the market.

Yet the launch plans were all hinged around a promotion. Lots of freebies leading up to and beyond the launch.

At the end of their presentation I asked, what I guess was, the most obvious question. Why the promotion?

I shared some examples from the same category but other markets where the product launch was seen as a great way to add value to the brand. First time users were made to believe that it was a privilege to get the product. Or alternatively those invited to buy/try the product were those seen as opinion leaders/influencers. Variations of the theme exist and were all shared.

At the end of my little ‘talk’ the client said ‘but we need to ensure that we sell’ our product.

And that’s when it struck me that the client/brand lacked confidence in itself. They didn’t believe that they could announce the launch and through smart marketing get the product off the ground while enhancing brand value.

Their starting assumption was that the only way they could get this going was by going the sales promotion route.

I believe all brands face this existential Q.

Do we have the ability to use this launch to drive prestige and add ‘sheen’ to our brand?

Or are we so scared no one will buy that we need to launch with a sales promotion.

I understand the tension.

As humans too we face similar anxieties. for example: Can we hold off for that increment/job offer or do we take the first one that comes our way?

The latter secures the short term future but impacts the long term.

People see the willingness to settle and thereby assign a lower value to you than you may inherently be worth.

It’s the same with brands.

If it’s all about promotions and even a spectacular new product launch is basically a promotion then consumers are always going to see it as a lower order brand and wait for the bigger better confident brand for which they will pay a premium.

Where do brands get their confidence?

Firstly by CLARITY in its soul. Like humans that have aligned their external persona to what they truly believe inside, brands need that synch( A colleague was making a point the other day about ‘I cannot present this with confidence when I don’t believe in it’). Important for brands to define this essence.

Secondly by CONSISTENCY. Communicate that essence in everything the brand does. Over time. And across channels and media.

Thirdly by acting/COMMUNICATING the part. People are more likely to take a brand seriously if it acted like one, and didn’t bend to a discount every time something went wrong.

It is this that gives brands the long time strength to weather the unavoidable storm that will hit it in the years to come.

If you believe you will win, you will. If on the other hand, a brand thinks, it is always going to need a crutch, well, then everyone can see that and draw their own conclusions.

When brands demonstrate confidence, consumers return that favour by paying top dollar for it.

Brand confidence. Worth the investment.

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