Have fun and build customer loyalty
'Brands are complex, but they must be made simple," says
Charles Hughes, CEO of Land Rover North America, the keynote
speaker at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas. Hughes,
the architect of the successful launch of the Land Rover brand
in the U.S., offers these ingredients to create success in branding:
- Create values your business will stand for. Hughes and his
colleagues came up with three: maintain high standards, allow
risk-taking and support each other in building the company.
- Reduce who you are to a simple statement. A Land Rover became
"a vehicle that can go anywhere but still be as sophisticated
as a European luxury car." The subsequent ad tag line, which
became very successful: "It says you've arrived, but you'll
also make it home."
- Get into the public eye any way you can. Land Rover didn't
have a huge ad budget, so it worked the press instead, creating
fun events reporters wrote about extensively.
- Reward loyal customers. The company rented a lodge in Durango,
CO, for off-road excursions offered to all Land Rover owners.
A staggering 7,000 customers responded; the only problem was
the company could accommodate only 1,000. The company learned
from the experience how passionate the owners of Land Rovers
are, even if it did cause a public relations disaster.
- Make your retail environment fun. The automaker learned that
after quick and efficient service, customers care most about
an entertaining shopping experience. Auto dealers were encouraged
to turn their dealerships into shops that resemble Hollywood
- Train your sales associates as though they are actors and actresses
on your set. The automaker set up Land Rover University, which
teaches salespeople to be zealots for the products. They even
learn off-road driving to experience what their customers feel
about their Land Rovers. Jewelers' take-home lesson? Let your
sales associates experience the joy of wearing fine jewelry;
encourage them to wear a different piece each day at the store.
Hire people who are passionate about jewelry and teach them the
- Differentiate your product. "You can't be sort of different.
You must provide a quality that makes you stand out."
- Build a better mousetrap. "It's really true people flock
to you if you make a better product."
- Develop a culture. Your buyers have to be passionate about
your products. For jewelers, this means making your store a place
they love to visit.
- Build a conspiracy of supporters. Let your employees and your
customers constantly refine and make your product better. Listen
to their ideas, complaints and other feedback. If your product
is a new idea, however, you may have a difficult time at first.
"Customers may not know they need you because they've never
had a product or service like the one you provide," he says.
- Be consistent. Don't waver from your original vision no matter
how much you're badgered to do so.
- Be patient. Building a brand takes time, says Hughes. "It's
a test of your toughness, but you must endure it if you want
- Put D before E. Efficiency is critically important to creating
a successful brand, but building desire is even more of a priority.
If consumers don't intensely desire your product, the brand won't
by Peggy Jo Donahue
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.