We once had a client tell us that it was impossible to differentiate in his market (he sold tiles). He told us bvery clearly that it was all about price, price, price. As you can imagine, we didn’t quite agree with him.
Well, know, some 15 years later, it looks like we have been proved right after all.
This new survey in Marketing Week about the top global brands shows an amzing statistic or two.
Brand seems to have now become more important than anything in making a purchase decision.
Making a decision to buy on price alone has declined in the past 10 years from 16% to 7%, while deciding to buy on brand alone has increased from 43% to 59%.
So it’s no longer price, price, price. It’s brand, brand, brand.
When I was at college studying marketing, this was a classic piece for us to learn. Maslow proposes that as we grow and attain civilisation and wealth, we move up the hierarchy of needs.
But I think the model is still potentially relevant, just far more muddled than it used to be.
Replace the Physiological needs with getting the mortgage paid and staying out of fuel poverty and you cover a very large proportion of the population.
But what has changed in my opinion, and what matters to people who control brands, is that he progression through the hierarchy is no longer, well, hierarchical. I believe many people now jump from the bottom right to the top. I’ll explain.
For many this is as good as it’s going to get. If you have ever read the book ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ (you should) the reason for all his pain and violence is that even though he is from a normal middle class family, that just wasn’t enough. He wanted recognition too.
Change the word ‘recognition’ to ‘self worth’ and you have an important jump.
If this is as good as it’s going to get for many. They still want more. They want to know they are doing things with their life that have worth, that makes them feel good about themselves.
So for me, it’s an early trend. More people doing more good, creative and artistic things – not for profit, but for self worth.
So if you own or control a brand, it’s time to start thinking what’s in it for them. How can they feel better by hanging out with your brand.
Howies summed it up years ago in a mailer, when they asked whether I just had enough stuff. In truth, we all have enough stuff, so what I’m saying is that we need a little more thoughtfulness as well.
You may have seen this little story bubbling under over the last week or so but it says an awful lot to me about brands and their respective behaviours.
In brief, Brewdog were at the British Institute of Innkeeping awards and fully expected to win the title of Bar Operator of the Year. They were on the top table and their name was on the trophy. It was that nailed on.
But when the announcement came, it wasn’t Brewdog, but someone else. They were surprised to say the least and when they saw Brewdog’s name on the trophy, rightly refused to accept it.
The independent judges couldn’t believe it had happened, but what did happen.
Well, it appears that Diageo, wanted any winner but Brewdog, so told the local BII team that if they won, they would withdraw any sponsorship in any BII event for the future. Strong arm tactics to say the least, so they panicked and gave the award elsewhere.
But social media has real power these days and the story came out anyway, but so did all the backlash against Diageo.
So what does it say about these brands?
Diageo, is old school. Flawless, never makes mistakes and wants to control every single element of their brand and who it hangs out with. They rather forgot that you don’t decide how your brand is perceived, your customers do. It shows to me the fear they are facing with craft beers, low run, carefully produced products that are worth paying a premium for.
For Brewdog, it can be nothing but good news. Look what happened when Radio One banned the Sex Pistols. It launched them! So the Punk beer brand is banned by the establishment.
I was in Brewdog Nottingham on Saturday afternoon. It was busy, the beer was good. A victory for Punk.
Thanks to Brewdog shareholder Lisa Harlow for telling me about this story.