Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Brands Matter - Part III

Customers buy in a blink. Malcolm Gladwell;s book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking asserts that customers make most buying decisions (and the best choices) by relying on ther two-second first impressions (or their adaptive unconsciousness) versus a long, drawn-out process involving lots of rational information.  Gladwell and others have exposed a dirty little secret known in marketing research circles that customers usually cannot articulate how they really feel, what they actually think or why they buy a particular brand.  The driver of their real feelings, thoughts and actions, is their unconscious.  Buyers make split-decisions based on stored memories, images and feelings -- which is what a brand is all about.  A strong brand equals a strong two-second impression whether you're buying potato chips or specifying a machine tool, cutting tool or software product.
Strong B2B brands are branded from the inside-out, top down and bottom-up. Aligning the whole organization from customer-facing reps to inside employees with the corporate brand strategy is crucial to driving brand value and customer loyalty, especially in the B2B world. If every employee does not "live" the brand strategy, then the company may face lost sales and unhappy customers.  On the other hand, if every employee understands its brand promise, there may be minimal negative impact on sales and customer satisfaction.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.