Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Essential marketing questions: No. 4 of 5

Brand management ensures your audiences “get” the brand, no matter where they connect. The fourth essential marketing question will guide brand management …

4. Can they easily see “what’s in it for me?”

Question four follows these three essential marketing questions:

1. If someone is looking for what you offer, where are they looking?
2. If they find you, what will they see?
3. Do you stand out in 3?

Each marketing question challenges you as a marketer and brand manager to focus on your audiences–who they are and how they communicate, how they search for what you offer. Your brand management must build your visual and verbal brand to stand out at a glance–in 3 seconds or less.

Essential marketing question can they see

Features vs. benefits … great design … and “WIIFM”

The results you achieve from good brand management are based on how well you connect with, inspire and engage your target audiences. What they care about, how they choose, what they understand about your offering is at the center of marketing success.

Brand management is getting in the heads and hearts of the target audience to create a consistent visual and verbal brand–what they see, read and hear–that states, reinforces and validates “what’s in it for me?”

It’s not enough to just list the products you sell or the services you provide. It’s not enough to describe them. Because when you present information like that, you leave it up to the reader or viewer to interpret for themselves, to determine if what you offer is what they’re going to choose.

As a marketer, you want to lead your potential buyer through your offering and compel them to respond, by telling and showing them (not letting them figure it out for themselves) “what’s in it for me?”

Better versions of themselves

This excellent blog post by Belle Beth Cooper on Buffer, titled “People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves,” describes the brilliance of the introduction of the iPod:

There is the famous story about Steve Jobs when he invented the iPod and everyone in the news and the rest of the tech industry scratched their head a little. MP3 players had been around for quite a while, what was so different about the iPod?

Of course, people argued many things were different, but one of the key aspects was how Jobs marketed and presented it: “1,000 songs in your pocket”

So true. He made it personal. It wasn’t about the technology, really. Yet all the other MP3 players were touting 1GB storage capacity (a feature).

Benefits are personal. Benefits are the outcomes created by the features. That’s why the best benefit test is to ask, “what’s in it for me?”

Showing off how cool I am

And what else was brilliant brand management? The product was white, when every other MP3 player was black. That created an instantly recognized visual cue which became the focus of the ads–dancing silhouettes and white wires coming from their ears. Everyone wanted to be cool, like the people in the ads.

brand management iPod adWhen someone bought and used/wore an iPod with white earbuds instead of black, they were grabbing 1000 songs for their pocket AND making a statement to the world, “I chose an iPod. I’m way cool.”

At a glance, the ads told the story. At a glance, a user made a statement. Anyone could see “what’s in it for me?” at any one of those touchpoints.

Emotional. Compelling. Inspiring. Personal. Outstanding brand management.

More choices, more information to sort through

Fact: Today’s audiences have more places to find information … so they look at more sources before they make a decision. B2B or B2C, doesn’t matter, still true. And the larger the purchase, the more sources they use … most of them online.

On average your prospect will look at more than 16 different information sources before they make a decision to contact you.

You must create that quick recognition, the instant connection. You must communicate at a glance “what’s in it for me” in order to break through the clutter and grab more than 3 seconds of consideration.

Often small things can make a big difference. Simplify a web page or create a button for a call to action. Bigger type and a shorter message. A graphic instead of text. Adding a testimonial to validate what you offer.

But what will make the biggest difference? Ensure that no matter where your audience sees your brand message and image, at every single touchpoint, online and offline, they quickly see and recognize, “what’s in it for me?”

Your quick links to these essential marketing questions:

1. If someone is looking for what you offer, where are they looking?

2. If they find you, what will they see? 

3. Will you stand out in 3?

4. Can they quickly see “what’s in it for me?”

5. Is it easy to choose?

Brand management begins by knowing your audiences.
Use our worksheet to identify your best targets.


About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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