Get Famous

Getting your name in front of customers is where we always start, but brand marketing has one more important goal we can't overlook.

When searching for an obscure item, I no longer start with Google. Depending on my location, I might bypass the browser entirely and open a certain app. Where else can you find a vacuum tube elbow with a precise 2.25-inch (outside dimensions)? Or a replacement igniter for a 12-year-old oven? Or those pillow covers in just the right shade?

By now, many of you have likely guessed the company I'm referring to. Its identity is so clear that it's as if I've spoken its name aloud.

This e-commerce giant has become the go-to option for certain products, and they've excelled at cultivating this reputation. However, being recognized as one of the world's largest retailers isn't sufficient; name recognition alone doesn't cut it. The key is to be known for the right things.

And that's exactly what Amazon has achieved.

As marketers and brand managers, we often focus on two primary goals. Earning name recognition and prompting customers to make a transaction with us. These are clearly valuable things, but here's the problem with each if you don't add one more very important goal.

Name Recognition

Being a famous brand means that when you are asking someone to make a purchase, you don't also have to explain who "Brand A" is. Buyers already know who you are, and that can greatly reduce the friction of making a purchase. Amazon has excellent name recognition, but so does Justin Timberlake. The Suit and Tie performer is known for his dynamic performances, several smash hits and his memorable performances on SNL. Now he's remembered for getting a DWI, and that kind of name recognition hasn't benefited all that much.

Name recognition alone can be a double-edged sword. Consider how a company like BP saw its brand recognition shift dramatically after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The lesson? It's not just about being known—it's about being known for the right reasons.

Getting The Transaction

While generating revenue is our ultimate goal, focusing solely on single transactions is short-sighted. Instead, consider this perspective: Today's campaign should exist to make tomorrow's results easier. Building a reputation as the go-to source in your niche, as Amazon has done for s plethora of items, is far more valuable than sporadic, one-off sales.

Selling one vacuum elbow because of search based relevance is good, but not as good as becoming a preferred source for all cleaning equipment and supplies because you're known for it.

Today's campaign exists to make tomorrow's results a little easier.

Famous For A Reason

Being known for the right reasons is what makes a healthy brand. We all know it intuitively. I can tell because we talk about positioning all the time, but we don't always remember to prioritize it.

So, how does a brand ensure that it is famous for the right reasons to make tomorrow's results easier? Here's where to start.

Say it.

The best way to be known for the right reasons is to communicate very clearly. Start by identifying your unique value proposition and craft a message that clearly communicates this value. Delivering on this across all touchpoints is important too, keeping certain to gather and act on customer feedback. As time goes on, evolve your positioning as market needs change. Amazon, again gives us a great example of this.

Amazon is known for a lot of things, but I often think of their simple, matter-of-fact slogans. In their early years, they called themselves "Earth’s Biggest Bookstore." It was not enough to sell one popular book but to be the number one source, anywhere in the world, for any book you could possibly want. That means that they are the place to go if you want to buy James C. Collins's book Built to Last or you'd like to pick up a copy of Douglas Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, and perhaps an instructional book on Japanese woodworking, Amazon has all of them, just as they say, and as you would expect.

As the company grew, Amazon took it a step further with the slogan "Everything from A to Z" and a smile that connected the A and Z in its logo. The positioning not only spoke of their catalog as a source for everything but alluded to their customer focus–without having to say it.

Instead of stating the obvious, start by stating the meaningful.

You can do this too. When developing your marketing messaging, there are lots of things you could say, but being selective is the key. Amazon could talk about being on the internet or being committed to great customer service. Instead of stating the obvious, start by stating the meaningful. Good positioning tells your customers where you fit in the market. Great positioning tells them where you fit in their life.

Own It.

Messaging is not enough. You have to build around it. Often, a brand message is merely a centerpiece for a complete company vision. Marketing is about creating a pitch that sells your product to customers, but branding is about creating the experience to reinforce that message. That means that after you create the right message, the work is not yet done. It's just getting started.

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