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September 1999

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Branding Defined

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 sets.
  • 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 details.
  • 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 to succeed."
  • 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 build.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.



 

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