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NAED AdVenture Conference Asks About Your Brand

By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine


The afternoon session of the NAED AdVenture Conference kicked off with a chance to examine something that has been a topic of discussion for me for the past 19 months.

What is your brand?

Speaker Graeme Newell of 401 Communications spoke to the group of nearly 200 attendees about the need for emotional connections with their customers.

Newell started by asking the marketing and public relations crowd if it had a “puddle formula”.  In other words, there is a whole world out there of simple products that are attached to an emotional campaign intended to make the people who see the material cry.  We have all seen commercials on television for products from cars to pain relievers that show how much we care about our family, and how that product can help you care for your family.

But there are plenty of other examples that connect a variety of other emotions.  The important part is being able to attach those emotions to your products, even if they are lights or circuit breakers.

Newell points out that the reality is we as customers don’t even know what triggers those emotions.  Sometimes even when we try to hold them in, you can’t help but feel something when a company is selling it’s brand the right way. Newell showed the crowd a variety of ads from Nike, a company that I personally like for it’s branding. Nike digs into its customers’ emotions of effort, failure and finally victory in everything they do.  From the greatest athletes in the world to the high school kid down the street to you 2 mile jog first thing in the morning, Nike focuses on the struggle to be the best you can be, and how you feel after accomplishing your victory.

That is their brand.

Newell also pointed out that great marketers can take their seemingly normal products and turn them into emotional target points.  While you are also selling electrical products, Newell showed the crowd a print ad for Gillette razors. As he pointed out, razors do nothing but scrape hair of your face. But to Gillette, it is not about how you scape the hair, its about how you feel afterward.  You look your best.  You feel your best.  And because of that, you are ready to take on the world today

That is their brand.

Newell also said it is easy to change your brand for the right reasons.  He pointed out that another company that does great branding, and that I also follow very closely, is Coke.  Coca-Cola started out as a company that made a product that quenched your thirst.  That’s it.  But over time, it took that thirst quenching to a new level, one where Coke is now selling a feeling of having a Coke with family or friends. Now it is about getting those people together, and enjoying their companionship.

That is their brand.

So what are the primary emotional drivers for your marketing?  Newell says a big part of it is finding ordinary features and making them must-have parts of the product. He used Grey Goose vodka as the example, pointing out that ABC News conducted a blind taste test of vodka, and Grey Goose finished dead last.  While the company’s tag line is “The best tasting vodka”, Newell points out that the reason people order and drink Grey Goose is because of how it makes them look and feel while they are drinking it, and not really how it tastes.  Newell points out that strong marketing finds those emotions for all products, and as a result, Grey Goose is the number one selling vodka.

Because that is their brand.

Then Newell broke down the emotional marketing for electrical distribution. He told the crowd it is important that you become someone who gives your customers more than just parts and service, but you understand their core values and what makes them successful.  How are they getting the job done on time and under budget? How are your products helping them get there?

When asked by an audience member about how to use the emotional marketing in electrical parts and distribution, Newell told the crowd that he has seen many of the ads and marketing, and simply putting products on a page may not be enough. Seeing images of the worker who is getting off the job on time because the parts work every time is important. Seeing the CEO proud of the work his employees have done is emotional. Showing how you care for every person who uses your products shows you care. 

Newell described the crowd as a collection of parts and people who sell them.  But if you have passion, you can be different from the rest. You send the message that you can make a difference on every job site and you are willing to make the sacrifices to make your customers loyal.

So, we have to ask:  What is your brand?

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