8 Ways to Identify an Authentic Brand

  1. An Authentic Brand consistently delivers what it says it will.

Examples: a) McDonald’s delivers fast, inexpensive food in a “fun,”child-centric environment.

b) Gillette’s patented technologies “deliver the best manual shave ever.” Or,  as their slogan claims, “The Best a Man Can Get.”

2.  An Authentic Brand can provide evidence or a measurable
track record that prove it does deliver what it promises.

ExampleToyota builds reliable, well engineered cars according to numerous personal and public* proof sources. (*Such as automotive consumer reports.)

3. An Authentic Brand has the facilities and infrastructures it needs to deliver what it says it will.

Example:FedEx delivers in more ways to more places worldwide.” The facilities and infrastructures that support this include: Fleets of trucks
& drivers, planes & pilots, airport facilities, automated and live customer service.

4. An Authentic Brand has practices and policies that match the brand’s messages.

Example: Sun Chips are made with solar power.” This manufacturing practice supports their brand’s promise to make “A healthier chip for a healthier planet.”

5.  An Authentic Brand initiates or participates in activities (like promotions, donations or sponsorships) that:

  • Support the brand’s claims/messages
  • Match its customers’ needs or values

Examples: a) Home Depot sponsors Habitat for Humanity and numerous other altruistic renovation programs. This validates their slogan, “You can do it. We can help.”

Photo By: Sgt. Hector de Jesus

b) FedEx’s Special Delivery program (6 dedicated vehicles and thousands of FedEx volunteers) have enabled worthy organizations to collect and transport more than:

  • 1.2 million pounds of food
  • 252,000 pieces of clothing
  • 450,000 toys

6. An Authentic Brand creates business alliances that extend its value by fulfilling “related” needs of its customers, which sets up a “win-win”scenario for both allies.

Examples: a) McDonalds & Wal-Mart Together they provide value to price conscious families. More families visit Wal-Mart when it also serves as a dining destination. And families that shop together spend more.

b) Starbucks & Barns & Noble Bookstores Readers enjoy browsing books with a cup of coffee. The longer they browse, the more likely they are to buy.  A high end coffee outlet attracts sophisticated, affluent customers.

7. An Authentic Brand has loyal customers and employees who willingly share their experiences and stories, which reinforce the brand’s claims and messages.

Examples: a) from cosmeticscop.com
“I have suffered from acne since I was 12 yrs old. My sister-in-law is a long time user of your products. She believed in them so much she sells them to friends & family. She set me up on a program using your products and after the first day of I could tell a difference. My skin is now clearer then it has ever been. Thank you so much!” —Debbie

b) from Macys.com (Cuisinart “Brew Central” customer review)
“This coffee maker is so easy to use. It makes such great coffee time and time again. It alerts you when its time to clean too. The digital display is real easy to use. I always use the brew time mode so I get up to fresh coffee every morning.” —CoffeeNuts

8. An Authentic Brand has a “Brand Legend” that supports its messages.

This occurs when a superb degree of consistency has been developed and people can publicly articulate the brand value proposition, whether they have ever personally experienced it or not.

Example a) Rolex is “the standard” for timepieces. This is known by those who own one and those who don’t.

Example b) The Cliff Bar legend tells the story of a man who wanted an energy bar that tasted good AND gave him the performance nutrition he needed for long distance bike rides. He couldn’t find one, so he invented one. “The Legend” is on every Cliff Bar package. Customers relate to it (and share it with others) as they went through the same experience. They applaud Cliff Bar for finally giving them an energy bar that tastes GOOD! Then they tell all their friends…who tell their friends, and so on.

Homer Simpson asks, “What are the Best Marketing Mediums for Authentic Brands?” Part 2

In answering Homer Simpson’s question “What are the Best Marketing Mediums for Authentic Brands?” I told Homer that many ad agencies and marketing firms push their clients to use the marketing mediums that they prefer instead of recommending the marketing medium (or combinations of mediums) that meet their clients goals of driving sales or attracting new customers.

“Marketing firms and ad agencies do this because using THEIR preferred mediums allows them to engage in  “Vanity Marketing.” I explained. “Which means they use their clients’ budgets to:

  1. Do more of the work they enjoy most, which…
  2. Keeps their “crew” busy, so they are never “unavailable,” and…
  3. Generates numerous entries for the various awards they aspire to win, which…
  4. Attract the clients who let them do more of… (Go back to #1 and repeat)”

Homer asked the obvious question. “How do authentic brands escape the vicious circle of “Vanity Marketing”?”

“The only way to avoid getting trapped,” I said firmly, “Is to develop a detailed target market profile and to be very clear on the mediums your target market DO and DON’T respond to.”

“Uh oh – I hear another conversation coming on!” Homer winked.  “You’re right!” I agreed.  “I’ll give you the short answer now but the long answer on detailed Target Market Profiles really warrants an entire conversation of its own.”

“Excellent!” said Homer, “So, what’s the short answer?”

“A Target Market’s preferred marketing mediums are determined by their:
1. needs  2. values and 3. preferences.
I began.

“And how do we know what those are?” asked Homer. “That’s what we’ll cover off in the conversation dedicated solely to Target Markets,” I replied.  “For now, I’m going to use the venerable company, Reader’s Digest, to illustrate my point,” I continued.

“Readers Digest’s Target Market prefers direct mail over any other marketing medium.” I began.

“Why?” Asked Homer. “Don’t they like TV?” “They do,” I assured him, “But direct mail sells far more magazines and books for Reader’s Digest than a 30 or even a 60 second television commercial.”

Homer looked puzzled, so I carried on with my explanation, “You see, the Reader’s Digest Target Market is made up of older people.  Many of them are retired.  And the Reader’s Digest mailers include lots of elements to read which their recipients find interesting and entertaining.  This Target Market also responds very well to the “gift-with-purchase” sales strategy.  Reader’s Digest knows that!  So when one of their prospects makes a  purchase – they give them something else at no extra cost. Often, that’s all it takes to clinch the sale!”

“What sort of stuff do they give away?” Asked Homer, looking intrigued.  “Well,” I began, “The gifts vary quite a lot.  I’ve seen them give away alarm clocks, pens, cutlery…” I began to count out a list. “Cutlery!” Exclaimed Homer. “Wow! I guess they want you to eat their words!”  He collapsed back on the couch and laughed loudly – fully enjoying his joke.

“Anything else?” Asked Homer when he had recovered. “Yes, this Target Market loves the Readers Digest Contests.” I said. “They can win cars and cash prizes…  Plus, some of the contests offer prizes for childrens’ writing, art and photography, so they can get their grandchildren involved too.”

“I can see why they’d like that part.” Homer said,  “But to me those contests seem like a big waste of time.”  “That’s totally understandable!” I responded.  “You’re a lot younger than
the Readers Digest Target Market, Homer.  And you have lots of other things to focus your attention on… You have a job, a wife and three children at home. You also have a car, so it’s easy for you to get around. And you have a group of friends whom you like to hang out with.”
Homer nodded. “That’s true!”

“Think ahead,” I challenged him. “Let’s say you are retired, and a widower. Your children have moved out and are leading busy lives. They have children of their own.”

“Bart and Lisa with kids? Whoah!” said Homer, shaking his head. “No! No! No! No! No!”

“Yes!” I continued, laughing at his horrified expression, “It’s all good Homer. Bart and Lisa will be adults by then – and you’ll be a grandfather!” Homer relaxed. “That’s ok then,” he smiled, imagining himself with his future grand-babies.  I went on.  “Let’s say you have health issues that make it difficult for you to get out of the house. ”

“Uh, let’s NOT say that, but OK,” said Homer “I get your drift…”  “And,” I went on, “A thick Readers Digest mailer is delivered to your mailbox.  It contains many pages of easy to read, interesting information.  It also offers you:

  • Stickers to peel off one page and stick on another
  • A chance to win a car
  • A chance to win a big cash prize
  • A book that condenses four bestsellers into one
  • Free gifts that you get to keep, even if you return the book
  • A 30 day no-hassle return policy on the book
  • No up front payment – you pay when you’ve “reviewed” the book and decided to keep it.

“Wow,” said Homer, smiling slowly, “I guess if  I was old and housebound, getting a package like that would make me feel like Santa had just stopped by!” “That’s it,” I said. “You’ve got it!”

“So d’you think Readers Digest knows their target market’s preferences and needs? Oh – and how to reach them?” I followed through with Homer,  “Wow, do they ever!” He replied, obviously impressed. “I can see why mailers work better for them than a television commercial would.  They’d get less than a minute on TV. And going though the mailer takes, what? An hour?” He asked. “It could,” I admitted, “Especially for someone who isn’t moving too fast or processing very quickly.”

“So do ALL marketing and ad agencies push their clients to do ONLY the work  they enjoy? Do they all party on their client’s nickel and compete with each other to win awards?” Homer asked, frowning. “Not ALL of them Homer.  No.” I replied thoughtfully. “There are a few that, like MIBOSO Authentic Branding, deliver real value to their clients.”

“How can I pick out the good marketing firms and agencies?” Homer asked. “Or tell them apart from the, er, “Vanity Marketers”?”

“It’s really pretty easy, Homer,” I replied, “You start by looking at the tangible results they have delivered for their clients. And then you validate the facts they provide with the clients themselves.”

“Hmmm,” Homer appeared unconvinced that this would be an easy process. “Can you give me a check list or some specific questions I can use?” He asked.  “I’m not so sure I’d be able to tell if they’re giving me the straight goods or “pitching me”.” Homer made a good point, “Because from what you’ve told me, I have to think that they’re pretty good at getting what they want.”

“Of course,” I said, “I’d be happy to do that! Look for that check list in an upcoming post!”

“Will do” said Homer happily, “I’m not gonna let those “Vanity Marketers” use my money to make themselves look good!” He chuckled and rubbed his hands together. “No siree, Bob!”

“Now that we’ve exposed the hidden biases of ad agencies and marketing firms, are you ready to move on to the role of selling?” I asked.

Homer nodded, then grinned, “Pitch me!” He said.