Does A Brand Need To Be Remarkable To Succeed?

Keurig is remarkableDoes a brand need to be remarkable to succeed or is  ”ok”  good enough? We see some businesses that are just ok and are very successful or maybe they are perceived to be successful? Maybe they are bringing in one time sales and no repeats? Or maybe they are hanging on by a string and trying to stay afloat. For some, if the cash register is ringing that is all they need as they must be doing something right if they are converting sales. However, in order to stand above the rest, we need to be remarkable. If not, we become invisible to many. That may not be a big deal when we are invisible to those that are not our target market, but when it is our target market or a segment thereof, it is a problem.

There are too many choices out there and, if we are not viewed as remarkable, we are getting lost in the shuffle. There are over 100 different types of aspirin. 100 different types. Who knew? Certainly not consumers as they have their brand/brands and the rest are ignored. That simple little (s) on the end of brand is what scares CEO’s, CMO’s and business owners. In order for a brand to remain competitive, we need to be remarkable so that consumers purchase us and only us over and over. In other words, we need brand loyalists and lots of them. This begs a 2nd question here of do we need to be remarkable to convert first/second/third time buyers into loyalists? Can we have brand ambassadors without being remarkable? I tend to think not as building brand loyalty is not easy as we know and if we are not remarkable then we run the risk of giving our competitor an opportunity to swoop on in, show our customers that they are remarkable and have our customer become loyal to them.

Being Remarkable

Being remarkable is more than a great product/service, the marketing of that product/service or the service that is associated with the product/service. While it can be a combination of it all, it is actually a bit simpler. Being remarkable is standing above all the rest by performing one thing or multiple things that much better. It also does require having the guts to be remarkable. Keurig® is remarkable as it took something that people were making & buying for years and simplified it. What was Starbucks selling – coffee. Yes but more SINGLE CUP COFFEE. What were you making at home? A POT of coffee. Starbucks told us it was not ok to make an entire pot of coffee when we really only needed a single sized cup; which of course they came in 3 sizes. Boy oh boy did change the way people drank coffee. They had consumers begging for that $5.00 cup of coffee. Keurig brought the making of coffee back home with single cup servings. Fresh as fresh can be. No more burnt coffee smell (now if we could just eliminate the smell of burnt popcorn!), no more making a pot of coffee that goes to waste or is too strong as we put in less water or too watered down as we could not get the amount of grinds and water in proper proportion. They made a cup that has the proper amount of grinds and water ratio.

How To Be Remarkable

Change the way people think. Show them that you are remarkable by changing the way they think about you. Tell them and show them that you are remarkable and when you say this/prove this over and over, people will start believing. You have changed the way they think about you while at the same time you are making them think of your competitor differently. In the example above, being remarkable was nothing more than taking something that already existed and bring it back down to simplicity and making coffee at home.  No more waiting on lines for your own single cup of fresh coffee and spending $5.00 a cup. It can be made in the privacy of your own home, at the office and even some coffee shops and oh did we mention with some of your favorite brands? Even Starbucks has realized that the K-Cups® are the now and while it is taking away from in-store single cup sales, it still brings people into their store to buy some for home, to get that morning muffin or danish. Keurig has taken over the single serve coffee market that Starbucks dominated. Remarkable. As I was finishing this post, I came across an article where Starbucks is gearing up to launch its own single-serve machine, Verismo system by Starbucks, to directly compete with Keurig. Remarkable has its downside … when it is that good, people play copy-cat.

Changing The Way People Think

What Keurig did was nothing new. They changed the way we thought. They utilized some basic fundamentals in marketing:

    1. Identified their target;
    2. Within their target, identified the ones that were willing to switch;
    3. Outside their target, identified the ones that were willing to listen; and
    4. They did something that no-one else was doing.

This allowed them to introduce their product to the market through knowing exactly whose mind they could change  and who would be their word of mouth stream.  They identified those that were willing to listen & repeat  but are not necessarily going to buy.  This segment many overlook as they are not increasing the bottom line directly however, they sometimes are the ones that make the most noise that gets more people to listen as their minds have been changed enough for them to have listened and repeat what they heard.

Brand Image In The Marketplace

You cannot change the minds of others unless you are aware of your brand image in the marketplace overall and also for your customer segments. Just because people buy from you does not always equate to a positive brand image. We buy out of convenience as was discussed with fast food purchasing. The fast food chains while do not have a bad image, they certainly are not winning any prizes with anyone in the medical field/personal training/educational systems, etc. There are more groups that if they came together collectively that would change the minds of many about fast food. If enough hear it from different places, they start to really listen and minds are changed. We feel safer/more willing to trust when we hear the same thing from various sources/resources.

Brand Reputation

Your reputation is driven my your actions and the perception of your actions. There is nothing more maddening when we see company that has employees who treat customers poorly; fail to react in a manner that is expected or justified; and/or just lose sight of their goals and their competition differentiators. Your brand reputation does directly effect the way customers think of you, your ability to change the way they think about you and also how customers will talk about you others.

1. How you respond in a crisis matters.

2. How you respond to a triumph matters.

3. How you respond to nothing matters.

Nothing? how do you react to nothing? It is that place between crisis and triumph, launch and maintenance; kind of an off-season for your brand where your presence is necessary but there is not that much company business going on to talk with consumers about.  Customer satisfaction plays a big role in your brand reputation and that leads to loyalty and also being remarkable. Customers/consumers pay attention to how they are being treated. If the red carpet is rolled out for a $1.49 purchase, we notice.  If we are met with a gum cracking, texting while screaming over us for someone else to open, we definitely are not going to feel good about that experience and that brand. Their reputation suffers every time we talk about them negatively to others. Sadly, they have sent a message that is embedded in our minds – not all customers matter.  Unfortunately, this comes at the hands of employees which no matter how much we train, stand over, remind, etc. sometimes employees fall short of consumers expectations.

In the end, being remarkable is not as difficult- unless we ourselves do not believe that our brand is remarkable. One thing that sets us a part from the rest is one message to change minds. Your image and reputation are just one piece of the remarkable pie that sets the stage for embedding a positive message in the minds of consumers that does not leave any wiggle room for them to have doubt.

Keurig® photo credit: adamdachis