What's the difference between a ho-hum product that hurts your bottom line and a Killer Brand that compels people to choose it and use it? In Killer Brands, marketing guru Frank Lane reveals his recognized three-step method to unlocking the marketplace and creating brands that annihilate the competition. His secrets? FOCUS: how to find the one singular, differentiating, and powerfully compelling quality that will make your Killer Brand known--not because of what it says it does, but because it does what it says ALIGNMENT: how to connect everything that you do in perfect harmony to deliver that focus consistently time after time, making sure that nothing you do inadvertently detracts from that expectation LINKAGE: how to make your Killer Brand synonymous with the product in the marketplace, so the consumer thinks of only your brand when the need arises.
No matter if you're selling socks or software, by following these three tenets of branding, you're guaranteed to kill the competition and create a dynamic, thriving brand.
My Notes From Killer Brands
A Killer Brand exists when an entity derives a disproportionate amount of success in its category because of a compelling and differentiated expectation that comes to be associated with its name.
Successful branding creates a preference for your offering; it’s chosen over competing brands.
Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department. Marketing involves understanding, creating, and managing all the factors that go into controlling choice.
With the principle of focus, you are trying to create a differentiated expectation for your brand that is so compelling that your target everywhere along the spectrum will choose your brand over others, regardless of price or the deal of the moment. What expectation will drive choice? Can I create it? Can I deliver it?
With alignment, you are trying to make your brand’s focus and differentiation so clear that no one along the spectrum will be confused about which brand to choose and why.
With linkage, you’re trying to ensure that your target will remember your brand accurately and remember specifically why they should make your brand their choice.
Power of Expectation
You made a choice based upon an expectation, and your expectation was not fulfilled. Thus you were disappointed.
When you don’t expect differences, price kicks in.
Your job is to create a compelling and differentiated expectation of your brand.
No matter how many strong selling points or expectations might exist for your brand, you are better off choosing one and making it the sole focus of your brand.
Lack of focus is the most common failing of brands and people in the business of branding—having no focus, trying to focus on multiple benefits, distracting from focus by adding secondary benefits.
Virtually any focus is better than no focus.
The less information we’re given, the more likely we are to remember it.
Causing a customer to think is never in your best interest. Make choices so clear that a customer does not need to think. They only need to act.
The meaning of focus is just that—single-minded devotion to one principle expectation. And fortunately for you, you won’t find a lot of competitors dedicated to focus. It is to difficult for most people to focus. The temptation to wander off focus is just too great.
All businesses have two choices. Either you can choose to be differentiated and market yourself as a brand, or you can choose to be me-too and market yourself as a commodity.
There are two kinds of differences: differences in kind and differences in degree. A difference in kind is inherently better than a difference in degree. Differences in kind are more difficult to compete with ad less likely to be leapfrogged by competitors.
If customers do not see the difference, you are the same.
Coordination is the key to maximizing the effectiveness of any focus.
The purpose of alignment is to create coordination, which in turn multiplies the power of your focus, both adding strength to your focus and adding efficiency to everything you do.
In alignment you want to make sure that everything you do contributes to delivering your focus and making that focus obvious to your prospects and users—and, just as importantly, does absolutely nothing to detract from your focus.
It will do you little good to get the best focus in the world, and align your brand perfectly to that focus, if your target audience does not remember your brand and does not tie your focus to your brand.
Your messages should and can link to the core expectation of your brand no matter what your brand is named. The weaker the linkage, the more you will have to spend on advertising to create a marketplace effect and the more ads you’ll need to buy. The stronger your linkage, the faster you will build the effect, the theoretically the less you will need to spend, the fewer ads you will need to buy.About the Author
Lane founded the company now known as FrankLane Ltd in 1981 after a
sixteen-year career with major consumer products companies. Prior to
that, Frank was president and chief operating officer of Neutrogena
Products. In his three years there, sales doubled, profits doubled, and
the company's stock market value increased 600 percent. Before
Neutrogena, he held marketing posts at SC Johnson Wax, Procter &
Gamble, and General Electric. He lives in Atlanta, GA. Frank is widely
sought as a public speaker. He is chairman of the Kokopelli Institute
for fertile business thinking and is co-chairman of Le Monde Demain, a
global organization of business futurists.
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