How “Real” Is Your Company?

Posted by on August 21, 2013

A Monday Morning Memo from The Wizard of Ads

According to Sergio Zyman, marketing guru at Coca-Cola, most Americans under the age of 49 get out of bed every morning and ask “Why the hell should I buy your product?” “Americans today hunger for something genuine, for authenticity,” says Zyman, “and they will not tolerate phoniness.”

Similar conclusions are shared by Remy Chausse of TrendSmart Marketing. “Trends indicate that traditional advertising techniques don’t work any more,” says Chausse, “Many business owners make the mistake of using 20 year old advertising language. But consumers today are just too savvy, they don’t buy it any more.” According to Chausse, “The public wants the heads of companies to come out from behind the corporate facade. Consumers want to know who they are and what they stand for.”

I agree.

So here’s the question. Does the public know who you are and what you stand for? If they don’t know you personally, do they at least know who your company is and what it stands for? How “real” is your company? (Lee Iacocca made Chrysler “real”. He took a phony, plastic coated company and wrapped skin around it. For a period of time, Iacocca was Chrysler. America responded by purchasing tens of thousands of Chrysler vehicles.)

As you know, I have always advocated using “the owner as spokesperson.” Is the idea beginning to make more sense to you now?

This concept of establishing “personal relationship” isn’t limited to actual persons, it can even extend to inanimate brands. Coca-Cola drinkers are often loyal to the point of refusing Pepsi as an alternative. This loyalty isn’t to a person who embodies Coke, it is a loyalty to everything Coke stands for. The product is merely a cola flavored, carbonated soft drink. Our loyalty is to something much bigger.

According to Jim Hancock, “A product occupies functional territory while a brand occupies emotional territory. A product does something while a brand stands for something in someone’s mind. Because a product seeks to persuade by its features, it is fundamentally rational. Because a brand seeks to persuade by the magnetic pull of what it stands for, it is fundamentally emotional.”

So what does your company stand for? How can we put this loyalty to work for you? When we discover the real you, we’ll have a treasure no competitor can steal. The heart and soul of your advertising should be everything that is uniquely and wonderfully you. Your company is much bigger and much more wonderful than price and item advertising. Write down on a sheet of paper everything that makes your company special.(Look at the way GM is advertising Saturn.) Now tell us who you are. I’m still waiting by the fax machine.

Roy H. Williams

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