Why is “thinking” undervalued in marketing?
In a world where marketers are obsessed with “just doing”, thinking has been pushed aside.
Before we “do” anything we need to understand. Understanding our branding and our consumers is a minimum. By “branding” I mean the brand positioning, or what the brand means for your consumers and customers. If I ask you what Volvo stands for, it’s a fair bet you would reply “safety”.
“Branding is not complicated” I hear you cry, no it isn’t but it can be very difficult.
It’s difficult because it can be a bit uncomfortable to confront some of the questions with honesty; it can be seen as woolly or fluffy, (it’s not); and it’s difficult because you have to THINK about it.
Let's look at those uncomfortable questions we need to think about; “Which consumer or customer group are you going to target?” (clue – it’s not everyone). “What is it you want to sell and why?” ( Have a look at how many companies, especially start-ups, fail to tell you what they do!), Perhaps the toughest question of all is “why am I different, unique or distinctive enough that a consumer will choose me?” (If that answer is price – you had better deliver great value!).
To respond honestly to these questions will take a little time; you should check your research and data to support your hypotheses, and then discuss the questions with colleagues and customers. Only when you are happy with your brand positioning can you embark upon trying to find a compelling way to communicate it, and then begin to decide on your media channels to hit your selected target.
In order “to DO” successfully, quality “THINKING” needs to have occurred; in the rush to get things done we risk failing simply because our thinking isn’t good enough. Back to basics everyone: analysis and diagnosis, followed by a plan or strategy and then use the marketing tools and tactics to achieve your business objectives. Don’t lose sight of these fundamentals! Let’s bring back “thinking” and strategy!!
Mark Shepherd is the owner of The Branding Authority, a consultancy bringing big brand expertise without big agency bills. Mark is also a lecturer in marketing at The University of Applied Sciences, Western Switzerland.
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