Now we’ve been in lockdown for a few months and like most people I’ve had all these plans to get fit, read more and I’ve done neither. My motivation disappeared quicker than Carol Baskin’s husband. It’s not much of a surprise that more than 12% of new gym memberships are started in January. We’ve all had those thoughts, ‘a new year, a new me’, ’this is my year’ but by June, a staggering 80% have given up!
So why do they quit? The obvious guess is, it was getting hard and they aren’t seeing results. They give up, cancel their membership and save their money. We want results and we want them now. This plays to our psyche of instant results – I want it and I want it now. We have become an impatient bunch and we are rarely willing to do the hard yards for the results.
Brand building is first and foremost an investment. Don’t expect instant returns. It’s a long-term investment in the company’s future. Do ten push-ups, do you notice any change? No, you might be puffing and a little red in the face but the gun show is a no-show. Why would marketing work any differently? Put the idea of an instant ROI out of your head, then you can start thinking about successfully building the brand.
We understand that you know the brand, of course you do – you spend half your life embedded in it, but look at it from your customers’ perspective. It is not their job to remember you. I’ll repeat that because it is one of the most important lessons in marketing:
It’s not the customers’ job to remember you, your brand or what you do. It is your job as a marketer not to let them forget.
Your brand has to earn the mental real estate in someone’s mind. Never take it for granted or assume you have it. A person’s memories naturally erode over time and your brain places much more energy remembering the important ones. With this in mind, remember to constantly remind the audience who you are and what you do. Build that salience. Coca-Cola might be one of the most recognised brands in the world but even they invest heavily in brand because they know they can’t afford to stop.
As we know B2B is often risk-averse but one of the rarely spoken about benefits of brand is that it works as a risk mitigator for the customer. We don’t often want the best product ever, we are just trying to avoid a lemon. Does Toyota build the best cars possible? Probably not, but chances are it will get you from A to B multiple times without too many issues. This why they sell so many cars. Despite not always being the case, a strong brand is perceived to have quality a product – we are more likely to trust brands that are familiar. Remember the wonderful line “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”, regardless of whether IBM was creating the best machines money could buy, the brand had won the trust of the customer and proved themselves within the category and to the broader market.
The research undertaken in the AMI / Green Hat 2020 B2B Marketing Research Report states that 41% of business don’t measure the health of their brand.
These brands face the very real prospect of losing market share by fading out of people’s lives and being replaced by their competitors. The LinkedIn sponsored B2B institute found in a recent study that the most effective split between short-term sales activated and long-term brand build is best to split 50/50.
Unfortunately, investing in your brand isn’t a one-off, it’s a constant. There is no way around it. As soon as you stop investing you will lose market share and sales will drop. Kraft Heinz was in trouble and they cut marketing budgets to ‘save’ money. The move caused the company to lose market share and this resulted in their share price dropping by 25%. They are now in recovery mode trying to undo that damage. To keep your brand in good shape, it needs to constantly be moving in the right direction.
The months leading up to a new financial year will mean having some tough conversations about budgets and how much they are being cut. Before making any cuts, ask yourself how much market share can your brand afford to lose? There may be some short-term gains/savings to be made but the long-term damage is very real.
Companies who invest in their brand during a financial down-turn are proven to come out the other end in a stronger position. During the GFC brands who continued to invest in brand were about to rebound quicker than their competitors who cut marketing budgets. Brand CPR is hugely expensive without any guarantees of survival.
Brand building isn’t easy but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. The first training session is always going to be the hardest but it is a step in the right direction. A stronger, healthier brand puts your company in a stronger position during tough times. Weak brands don’t last as long as strong ones. It does take time – think years not months, but you’ll be better for it and the sooner you start the sooner you’ll see results.
“What hurts today makes you stronger tomorrow.”
— Jay Cutler, Pro bodybuilder and four-time Mr Olympia
If you need some help getting that motivation back, we can be your training partner — call 03 9290 9777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more B2B marketing and Best-in-Class insights, download your complimentary copy of the latest B2B Marketing Research Report.