If you are a marketer or brand manager, the idea of purposefully creating a brand probably seems obvious. An intuitive, almost second nature function required to successfully compete in today's environment. However, for every Intel and Lexus with a well crafted and executed brand strategy, there are dozens of brands that have developed deep connections with customers accidently rather than with purpose. Take Dell for instance, they are keenly aware of what their products do for customers, but have either not recognized or chosen to avoid what they mean to their customers.
While this 'accidental' branding can be found across product categories, our research has found it to be most prevalent in technology companies that focus on high quality, technologically innovative products. A perspective based on the belief that the science sells the product. And while the words may be different from company to company, the sentiment is generally the same; the companies are proud of the functional benefits and technical superiority the products bring to the market and frequently scorn the emotional appeal these products have with customers. For most, the strength of the brand is inextricably linked to the science and engineering that created it.
As you dig into this perspective more deeply, it appears that these companies see the logical approach to be fundamentally at odds with the emotional. That in order to have one you must sacrifice part of the other. That to connect with the customer emotionally, it must occur at the expense of the functional rather than as a result of it. The challenge is getting these organizations to recognize that strong brands consist of 100% rational argument and 100% emotional connection without the need to trade off the two.
This is one of the toughest goals for individuals in organizations oriented in the logical view. Maximizing the success of a product depends on the brand being able to clearly articulate what it will do while also understanding the customer's experience. In working with brand teams looking to create or foster an emotional connection with their customers, we help to begin shifting the emphasis from telling customers what the product does to telling them what the product does for them.