Challenging Brands?



Back in the day they said you were a ‘challenger brand’ in order to describe a more earnest, hard working – more entrepreneurial ethic. In some cases it was used to politely define those who were not leaders at all. They aspired.

Well step up ALL you brands ‘cos none of that matters much these days. You’ve all got a challenge.

I’ve recently bought brands online that I’ve never heard of that because their ethic shone through on their website. The service was real and full of energy you happily bought. I felt I was dealing with a real – a human company. I didn’t feel like I was being railroaded into a movement – some latest fashion, fad or ‘brand’. I didn’t feel like some marketing department had engineered it for me to feel that way.

Of course the reason why we buy any brand is hugely personal.

I’m speaking personally when I say I mostly avoid the large well-known ‘brands’. I’m increasingly distancing myself from anything in the mass market. It’s because I believe they’re set up as a factory to remove any sense of decency from me.

I believe they are nothing but a machine with very little interest in me as a customer. That’s because that’s how they make me feel. And when I was in the branding business I worked with many people who actually would admit that they didn’t care about the consumer as long as they parted with their cash.

These days I believe it’s possible for a brand to become successful for very different and far better reasons. Below is my list of the things that they would need to prove to me before I would part with any of my cash.

  • Marketing Is Dead. Nowadays It’s about Causing Attraction: How did I actually hear/stumble across this product in the first place – was it from some space, place or source that I trusted?
  • There’s Only One Chance Of Making A First Impression: Did my first impression register any charm or grace in my head? For me that would be a quality/well-designed product ‘story’ that bought me into their product from the first ‘look and feel’. It may contain some humor or intrigue.
  • You’re Welcome: Had they spent quality time thinking about how I arrived (was greeted) in their store, in their website or via their mobile phone application. And if it went awry how did they react to my inability to find what I needed on their blurb? You can always spot a business that has invested in thinking.
  • People Like Us: How well did they know the type of person that I am – how well did they understand the type of person that I should be (or might be) and why might I be interested in their product in the first place?
  • That Stuck Marketing Department/Record: Did they try and sell to me in that machine gun scripted style that makes me want to vomit all over them?
  • The Whole Experience: How much had they thought about the details that make the purchase so much more enjoyable – For Example: the way that I might carry it home – the fact that they might deliver it for me – the fact that they might pre-configure it or make it very specific to the requirement I actually had of it. Had they thought about that at all?
  • A Product Isn’t Just For Christmas: Did they offer to follow up after the purchase to make sure that it actually worked – you know – a little while later (Indeed did they bother to ask me whether even that would be of interest to me for my purposes and not for their extra ‘on-selling’ ambition)

Up for the challenge?

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