Feb 27, 2013

How brands grow… on shelf

Recently I read one of the (buzzword approaching) go-to books in Marketing right now – Professor Byron Sharp’s ‘how brands grow – what marketers don’t know’. I was so impressed that I’ve been giving away copies to clients, often finding that they already have one. Never mind, my advice is to read it again and this time highlight all the major fallacies we’ve been working with for the last, say, 30 years. If you’re like me you’ll end up with a lot of bright yellow stripes through the text.

But what can you do to profit from Professor Sharp’s new data-driven insights? We think you can certainly write a different type of briefing for new brand communications, including packaging redesign (and packaging innovation). If you only take one thing away, I’d suggest this: Consumers don’t care about your brand as much as you’d like to think. They buy what’s useful to them – good products made by trusted manufacturers at fair prices. They are not brand loyal, even to Apple or other so-called ‘Lovemarks’. Brands are simply choices in a category, and to grow them you need to create and reinforce memory structures – distinctive visual, verbal and sonic assets that give your brand higher ‘mental availability’ than your competition. Physical availability is the other side of the same coin.

On shelf that means strong and consistent branding, through logos, colours, pack forms and being reminded of advertising symbols; even better if the advertising equities include or are even based on the design equities. So who stands out on shelf for high HBG compliance and growth potential? I took along my Meerkat-like powers of observation to see what tickled my memory structures….