I live in a house of six sorority girls. Yes, you read it right, six. Every day is a new adventure, whether one sets off the smoke alarm due to a cooking disaster (which happens quite often) or one leaves the door unlocked which allows a robber to come in and steal our TVs (sad, but true.) My roommates and I never stop talking. And our walls are so thin everything said is heard. The only time we don’t talk is when we sleep, but even that doesn’t always stop us. Yet, through listening to all of this talking, they’ve taught me a thing or two about branding.
1. Consumers buy products from brands that they trust. We have two refrigerators that are fully stocked at any given moment. A trip to the grocery store has to be planned days in advance to make sure there’s room for more goodies. When we go to the grocery store though, it takes seconds because we know exactly what we want. If choosing between a national brand and a generic brand, 9 times out of 10 my roommates will pick the national brand. Even if the generic brand is on sale they don’t buy it because they don’t know what they’re investing in. They haven’t watched the commercials or seen the magazine ads. As consumers, they buy the brands they trust because they know the quality they are buying.
2. Commercials need to be quick and to the point. So I mentioned we talk a lot. It doesn’t stop when we watch TV. A lot of the time we put captions on only to ensure we can talk and watch at the same time. This is different when there’s a commercial break. At a commercial break, we talk about whatever product is being sold to us. This is hard to do when commercials don’t explain their purpose easily. For example, the JCPenney commercials – my roommates for the life of them don’t understand what the commercials means. This is an error in communication to the consumers, which is crucial when creating a brand (especially when rebranding their image, like JCPenney is in the middle of doing)
3. When someone behaves in a poor manner, their personal brand is ruined. One roommate was in love with Chris Brown. When I say in love, I mean had his face plastered all over her walls, had their wedding planned to a tee, and knew what she was going to name their children. All was good in Roommate and Chris Brown world until he made poor choices the night of February 9th, 2009. (Read here for details!) From then on, the pictures have come off of the walls, the wedding has been cancelled and any thought of children is completely diminished. Even though he’s continued to be successful in the music business, in the back of most people’s minds, even my roommate’s, he’s not the person he once was. Basically, when you do something bad, your personal brand will always have that bruise.
Overall, stopping and listening to consumers is a crucial part of running a successful brand. Without this, needs may not be met and messages may not get across. So, Understanding this aspect of a branding campaign is as easy as watching and listening to consumers. Finally the constant conversation has paid off!