As long ago as 1994 when we were working for a world class Racing Drivers School at Donington Park in UK. They came to us with a problem of a winter course that was almost impossible to sell out and they wanted us to produce a flyer for them to help sell it at a discounted price of £1800 for the five day programme rather than the full price of £2500.
We talked them into an idea of offering an additional 15 hours of one on one instruction that had a perceived value of £1200 but an actual cost to the school of less than £200. Guess what? The programme became the most popular and sold out almost immediately.
We already suspected the power behind adding value but this was our first definitive proof.
Well this has now been confirmed by none other than Martin Lindstrom who is one of the most forward thinking of any current brand strategist.
His supposition is that discounting a brand will take SEVEN years to recover from as this is how long the cycle takes for it to be built back up to a brand that is valued.
If you look at the huge brands now literally dumping their products through the likes of TK Maxx in a desperate search for volume, I would have to ask whether they will even survive long enough to get to the end of that seven year cycle.
If you can buy a Calvin Klein jumper in TK Maxx for £25 in their traditional grey colour, why would you want to pay £100 and more, just to have it in a better bag – particularly when some would now be embarrassed to be seen with such a conspicuous sign of excess that a Calvin Klein bag represents.
So for us, the key for the long term success of any brand is to find ways of adding value to your brand.
Tony Parsons – who we have previously described as an unwitting brand guru in many presentations delivered over the years – writing in his book Man and Wife, was trying to establish why his parents had managed to stay married for so long. His Mum’s answer was simple
By learning to fall in love over and over again.
The same can be said for managing any great brand, because the best brands have an emotive element that people love over and above all reason.
An emotional brand gives their customers reasons to fall in love with them over and over again. They act as though they are in a real relationship with them and if they do it well and keep doing it well, they may be lucky enough stay in that relationship with them forever.
The secret seems to be to reward them, surprise them, say thank you, respect them and treat them as intelligent individuals. Just like in a conventional relationship, if you make more of an effort, you are far more likely to succeed.
So. Don’t discount. Delight instead.