Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: Brand

The Unique Selling Proposition – USP

Development of this “central idea,” or what is often called a unique selling proposition, is one of the copywriter’s most difficult tasks, The USP (as it is often abbreviated) originated at the Ted Bates advertising agency in the early 1940s; as its famous originator, author, and agency vice-president, Rosser Reeves, has indicated, however, it has been picked up by hundreds of agencies and has spread from country to country. Unfortunately, it has also become a very misused concept; frequently, it is applied loosely and without understanding to slogans, clever phrases, unusual pictures or sound combinations-in short, to almost anything deemed “different” in copy, layout, or production. We hope our interpretation of the USP will come close to the one intended by Rosser Reeves, but every student of advertising creativity must ultimately develop his or her own.

A USP, Reeves claims, gives leverage to an advertising cam­paign-that extra tug that pulls consumers over the line of indecision or confusion to specific product preference, and then to brand loyalty. Now consider the three words individually.



“Unique” refers either to a unique feature of the brand itself  or to a claim not currently being made by competing brands (even though they could if they so desired!).

It is important to point out that today’s Federal Trade Commission does require substantiation of advertising claims, and may take issue with anything presented as “unique.”



“Selling refers to sales value. The claim-whatever it is-must be strong enough, important enough, relevant enough, believable enough to convince consumers that it is in their own best interests to try  the brand in question. Consider vegetable juice again, and suppose that V-8 had been developed by a person named Valdimir Van Vaulkenburg! Unique? Certainly-but the consumer’s reaction will merely be: “So what? Who cares?”

There is no sales value in the name Vladimir Van Vaulkenburg. Even if he represented a well-known company, it is doubtful in this day and age that consumers would buy his juice without some idea of its taste and/or nutritional value. On the other hand,  a number of factors motivate consumers today, such as health, convenience, and the desire to care for loved ones; these are the kinds of qualities copywriters should latch onto and develop in the food and beverage line.



“Proposition” refers to a promise: that if the consumer buys a certain product, with the unique feature or claim attached (selling point), he or she will receive a specific benefit. In other words, the USP matches a selling point with a consumer benefit, and does so in a unique way. 

USPs are often difficult to grasp and apply-but they make or break most advertising campaigns. They are really so crucial to creative (and overall communicative) success that they should pretty well fill their respective advertisements. A maxim for copywriters is: one solid USP per ad-and if “additional” selling points and benefits are included, they had best be few in number and relatively minor in importance. (Otherwise, they overpower the USP.)


Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

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In Branding – Look to success in the margins

Dr. Brian Monger

Lets fact it – In the real world, competitive brands seldom differ much from each other. Any market successful innovation tends to be quickly cloned. Nor does much advertising give very different images or values to functionally similar brands, despite what tends to be said about this.


It is often said that brands need to be differentiated. In a differentiation strategy, a firm seeks to be unique. it selects one or two attributes that many buyers in an industry perceive as important (Michael Porter, 1985).

Differentiation which is successful (in terms of sales) asks to be copied.

If we steal a lead we find the advantage is only temporary. So we rapidly lose our edge and off we go again, striving to get ahead once more. Thus the battle of the brands continues, with broad competitive parity/ over time the normal and natural state of most of our markets.

Me-tooism remains the dominant force in competition. Being competitive means cashing in on one’s competitors’ successes.

So innovation may not the stuff of effective long-term competition, except defensively. One probably cannot afford to be left behind..

The key strategic objective needs to be remembered – to gain a sustainable competitive advantage by building sustained customer loyalty with products (goods and services)

What is brand salience?

According to Neil Barnard and and John Scriven (Ehrenberg, A., Barnard, N., and Scriven, J. (1997). ‘Differentiation or salience’, Journal of Advertising Research, 37/6: 7–14.) If Brand A has more salience than B, it has more people who:

  • Are “aware” of it (for just about any awareness measure)
  • Have it in their active brand repertoires (for frequently bought products)
  • And/or have it in their consideration sets (i.e., brands they might buy)
  • Are familiar with the brand
  • Feel it has brand assurance (e.g., retail availability, after-sales service, etc.)
  • Have positive attribute beliefs about Brand A
  • Regard it as value for money
  • Harbour intentions to buy and/or to use it in the future (and do so)
  • Would buy-A-if-their-usual-brand-was not-available
  • Choose A in a named product test
  • Note and recall its advertisements (by and large)
  • “Talk more often and more richly about it in focus groups
  • Are “loyal” to A (by any measure of loyalty)

Salience is about how many consumers regard it well, or “well enough,” or see it as “salient”

So – the real differences need to occur in what we see as the margin . That is ensuring competitive brands will differ in emotional features (e.g., brands have different personalities) which link with specific target segment desires. The real differentiation is understanding that a brand’s true salience and value lives inside consumers minds and help them identify products that promise them a certain set of benefits.


Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known business consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Good Ways to Build a Brand Name Using Social Media – For a new to the market product

By Bogdan Sava

The Social media environment helps a brand interact quickly with the existing/new customers in a transparent, non-expensive, creative way, stimulating the transmission of the brand benefits to its market and generating discussions among customers about the brand advantages, usages, purchase possibilities, ways of improvement, feedback and so on.

Of course, taking into consideration the industry, the type of product/service, type of customers, the social media marketing environment must be taken into consideration in the frame of the overall strategy and marketing business plan, being used along the other environments, on-line or offline.

WHAT FOR: For a new brand, the social media environment can be used for targeting, positioning and ENGAGING the customers into discussions about

-> The new brand benefits;

-> Advantages related the other competing products;

-> Experiences from using the brand offer, shared with other existing/potential customers;

-> Ways of purchasing the new brand product/service, ways of providing customer support and feedback;

-> connecting the new brand either with other brands (of products/services) that would improve or would make easier the customer experience;


-> Write articles of practical situations presenting experiences through which customers get the best benefit from the new brand;

-> Ask questions about the way customers use the brand in the every day activity;

-> Make contests, challenging customers to imagine themselves using the new brand product/service, ask them what they to share their best/worst experience and give pieces of advice to other potential customers;

-> Have community opinion leaders (bloggers, journalists, managers, media people, users from the industry of the new brand, etc.) use the new brand product/service and present their story about how they used it and what they liked/disliked, challenge other users to present their opinion;

-> Create creative viral campaigns about the usage of the new brand in funny/unusual situations and determine normal Social media members share the campaign to others;

WHY: -> Through the Social media marketing environment, a new brand has a potentially unlimited cheap, creative means of promoting itself to a virtually unlimited number of potential clients. The only limits are the CREATIVITY and IMAGINATION of the brand owners.


1) A Provider of shopping groceries and delivering them directly home: can use Social Media to explain how it offers more spare time, shopping efficiently to clients interested in its service; to engage and present additional benefits, the Provider can present stories or organize contests about the best ways to storage the purchased groceries or the best recipes contest;

2) A bicycle manufacturer: can use Social media to engage people passionate about riding bicycles in outdoors, in nature, can present different challenging events about bike contests and the best ways to improve or take care of each buyer`s bike.

Bogdan Sava

ePayPoint/Gi Group

Bucharest, Romania

Information Technology and Services

The Benefits of Socially Responsible Branding

Adding Cause to Branding

The benefits of being perceived to be socially responsible are varied and many. Understandably brands want to be perceived as socially responsible. Being associated with a good cause is a quick way for a brand to be gain the tag of being seen as ‘socially responsible’. This shows the brand to be responsible and caring and these are indeed good qualities for a brand to have. While some brands are inspired by a genuine sense of social responsibility many brands look at the image of being socially responsible as helping in building brand stature. The conscious employment of resources by a brand to aid charitable causes in order to develop image, associations and identity benefits is called cause related branding.

There are 5 main reasons why brands associate with charitable causes other than from a socially responsible perspective:

Builds brand preference: Marketing sense states and some research studies confirm, that ceteris paribus, consumers would prefer buying a brand that is associated with a good cause than from other brands.

Justifies a premium: Consumers often do not mind paying a premium for a brand that is known to be generous to a well-known charity as consumers feel that the brand deserves the premium. The knowledge that a part of the money paid to a brand is going to a good cause adds to the positive emotional component of the brand.

Reduces negative connotations associated with the brand: Liquor and tobacco brands often associate themselves with causes as a means of negating a part of the disrepute associated with their industry.

Provides the brand with desirable values: Brands that are seen to possess a very commercial and greedy image may wish to develop a softer image by showing a softer nicer side by donating to charitable organizations.

Useful for raising money: Brands that plan to approach the money market for raising money from the public often show the warm side of their personality by publicly supporting charitable causes. Investors who are not doing extensive research on the brand may invest because they believe a brand with good intentions can be trusted.

As is obvious from the advantages mentioned above, cause related branding has a lot to offer brands and therefore this route is being used by many brands. There are several successful examples cause related branding working wonders for brands it must be understood that a poorly developed cause strategy will lead to no little or no benefits for the brand. The days when a brand could merely tie up with a well-known charity and earn brownie points are over and the intricacies involved in making cause related branding work are worthy of careful consideration.

In branding, adopting a strategic perspective is critical. In cause related branding it becomes even more critical as the process of establishing an association with a cause takes significant investment of time, effort and money. Reaping the benefits of the association takes time and delinking from a cause can have strong negative repercussions for a brand and the involvement of the highest echelons of management need to be involved in decisions involving cause related branding.

There are three levels of decisions that brands need to look at and the implications of each category of decisions is to be understood before planning for any kind of cause related branding:

Deciding the category: There are a wide range of categories of causes ranging from care of deprived children to restoration of dignity of seniors. Categories are wide and can encompass a wide range of sub categories. Within the cause category of care for senior citizens there are sub categories addressing issues such as care for abandoned elders, medical treatment of senior citizens, etc. It is important to choose the right kind of category and sub category as a prelude to deciding a relevant issue to back within this category.

Deciding the specific issue: Categories of causes consist of different issues. Issues are specific such as programmes to aid restoration of dignity of senior citizens that feel deprived of dignity following their old age. Focussing on specific issues is important for brands as it helps fine tune the values that flow from the association.

Deciding the specific institutions: Unless the brand is willing to create a trust that handles the responsibilities of the cause it will have to depend on institutions to run the operational aspects involved in the execution of cause related activities. Aligning with an institution that caters to a specific cause can provide a brand with strong associations however there are times when brands need to ensure that they are not overshadowed by charities that are stronger brands than their sponsors.

These are some of the aspects that need to be studied before a brand decides to associate with a charitable cause.

What is the relevance of the cause to the brand’s consumer segment?: Association with a charitable cause does not immediately mean that consumers will immediately hold the brand in high esteem. Consumers must find the cause relevant to their value system before the brand receives any approbation. For example: Not all consumers may be equally supportive of a cause that looks at providing food and shelter to immigrants/refugees. These consumers may be more supportive of causes that benefit their countrymen.

How different is it?: Many people are inured to causes and even associations with a good cause like Cancer Care may neither draw much attention to the brand or to the cause nor would the association be very memorable. Finding a cause that is relevant and yet different would help in enhancing the memorability of the brand and cause. For example: A trust that looks after veteran entertainers suffering from terminal diseases can be seen as a worthy cause to support as it appreciates people who once entertained and gave others happiness.

Can the cause be owned?: It is normally difficult to own a cause as this would require immense investment of resources. A niche cause like the one mentioned in the above example may not require huge investments and may not see many other brands supporting this cause. The task of guarding the cause associations may not be very tough nor may the cost of running such a trust be very high.

Will it hold enduring relevance with this segment?: Some causes are contextual. These causes appear to touch a sensitive chord with consumers and then suddenly seem to lose their appeal. Often charities in India catering to cyclone victims suddenly find their support waning in the wake of a fresh new tragedy in a different part of the country. Public sympathy often veers towards the more current tragedies.

How will the relationship be positioned?: The nature of the brand’s relationship with the cause can influence consumer perceptions of the brand. A brand that extends it relationship beyond the financial support to also provide investments of time and talent would most likely stand to gain greater credibility from the relationship than would a brand that only provides money. Brands that appear to only offer financial support may be seen as ‘forced’ or ‘insincere’ and this could in some cases prove counterproductive.

Controversial issues: Brands need to be careful while handling causes associated with controversial issues. For example: A ‘euthanasia’ support foundation campaigning for change in legislation towards euthanasia may be seen by some as a worthy cause but association with this cause may lead to the brand supporting it being embroiled in controversy at some stage of its association if public opinion suffers from the occasional mood swing. While some brands court controversy through short term associations with controversial causes this could be risky as well as counter productive as the issue could turn ugly and taint the brand or it could grow far bigger than the brand.

Cause related branding works best when it is driven by the core values of the brand. Like anything else that is forced, cause related branding could prove counterproductive if it is not a ‘natural’ facet of the brand. When it is not ‘natural’ to the brand then the cause related activities are de-prioritised and lose focus often with corresponding effect on the brand.

In an increasingly cynical world, the value of genuinely sensitive acts is extremely high. There are several cries for brands to show greater responsibility and to share a small part of their wealth with the less privileged. The current economic strife created by schizophrenic brands that show dissonance between their different actions has led to lower levels of consumer belief in brands. Cause related branding performed with genuine intent can help restore consumer trust and build brand equity

Like this short article?  Please comment.  And have a look at other articles  in our sister blog http://smartamarketing.wordpress and checkout the smartamarketing posts on SlideShare. (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

A brand is…?

A brand is a..

Customer or user experience represented by images and ideas, often referring to a symbol (name, logo, symbols, fonts, colours), a slogan and a design scheme. A perception of an integrated bundle of information and experiences that distinguishes a firm and/or its product offerings from the competition

Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product (good or service), both from its use and as influenced by advertising, design and media commentary. Brand is often developed to represent implicit values, ideas and even personality. A brand is a mixture of attributes, tangible and intangible, symbolised in a trademark, which, if managed properly, creates value and influence. “Value” has different interpretations: from a marketing or consumer perspective it is “the promise and delivery of an experience”; from a business perspective it is “the security of future earnings”; from a legal perspective it is “a separable piece of intellectual property.” Brands offer customers a means to choose and enable recognition within cluttered markets. Established product name, wholly of a proprietary nature. A name, sign, symbol or design, or some combination of these, used to identify a product and to differentiate it from competitors’ products; consumers learn to associate the satisfaction’s derived from products with the name, sign, design or symbol, thereby allowing the marketer to use the brand image creatively and strategically. A brand is a mixture of attributes, tangible and intangible, symbolised in a trademark, which, if managed properly, creates value and influence. Brands may be used in different ways.

From the MAANZ MArketing Glossary http://www.marketing.org.au.

For more detail and information about this term, see MAANZ MXpress Courses and Marketing Ideas and Skills Notes

Build Your Personal Brand

Dr. Brian Monger

Branding is not just for products. ‘Personal brand’ has become an increasingly common phrase. Just as traditional product branding helps organisations to draw market awareness, public recognition and customer loyalty to them, building your own personal brand can have a positive effect on employers’ and clients’s attitude to you as a professional. Let’s take a look at how to build your brand

Your personal brand needs to show in everything you do and are involved in.  It’s about your value (offer) to others.

Your personal brand represents what you mean to others.  How they feel about you and how they value you

Focus on who (your target market/audience) you want to connect with and impress.

You don’t need to impress everyone (you never will BTW) You want to impress and be meaningful to who matters to you.  You need to understand your audience/target market(s) in-depth, so you know what will make a positive impression.

Your brand should reflect authenticity and the value that you have.

Focus on what you can deliver; what you want to deliver.  Do not try to be what you cannot be or what will be too hard for you to deliver.

In your personal brand, highlight what value you believe is needed in the market and that is pertinent to you.

Use your brand to demonstrate to clients and employers what benefits and value (that’s what people want and buy)  you’d be adding for them (first) to their organisation (second if they choose to go with you.  Be clear in your understanding of the market and their need for people like you and for what it is you can do for them.

Differentiate your personal brand from other offerings

From a long-term (strategic) point of view, personal brand effectiveness will only work if your audience/target market(s) can differentiate you from the competition.  If they cannot differentiate you from everyone else in the same market you become just like any commodity.  You will not be noticed or appreciated.  You can compete only as a low price commodity.  So don’t use the standard terms everyone else is using about themselves.  Here again it is vital to really know and understand your market/audience.  And if you are being truly authentic as well you will of course be different.

Consider the right medium/media for conveying your brand message.

The digital world is prominent these days, but it is certainly not the only, or even necessarily the best medium for your message.  First you need to know what media your audience/target market(s), use and fight credible.  And do not forget face to face is often the best media.

Think as professionally as you can to develop your personal brand and your brand message 

Your personal brand is about presenting yourself in an effective and professional way, so act like one.

Dr. Brian Monger is a marketing specialist with over 4o years experience.  He is a recognised expert on branding and social media.  He can advise and assist in developing effective personal branding. His professional profile and recommendations can be found on Linked In (Dr. Brian).  Contact him via info @marketing.org.au.

See more articles on marketing and management – smartamarketing.wordpress.com.  Add visit our website http://www.marketing.org.au  or our groups on Linkedin – MAANZ Smartamarketing and MAANZ International

Brands and Loyalty

Brand Loyalty Defined

What is brand loyalty? Brand loyalty implies that consumers bind themselves to products (both goods and service)s as a result of a  commitment.

Bloemer and Kasper further delineate brand loyalty into “spurious” and “true” loyalty. Spurious loyalty exhibits the following attributes:

  • Biased
  • Behavioral response
  • Expressed over time
  • By some decision-making unit, with respect to one or more alternate brands
  • A function of inertia

True brand loyalty includes the above, but replaces inertia with a psychological process resulting in brand commitment (Ref: Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 16, Issue 2, July 1995).

What drives brand loyalty?

To better understand the process of preference, let’s first look at a basic communications model. The five components of this model are sender, medium, filter, receiver, and feedback. All messages are coded patterns and sensations – colors, sounds, odors, shapes, etc. Those messages deemed recognisable, or a basis for a relationship, are decoded and stored in our memory. A successful convergence between sender and receiver will result in some type of response to a brand’s compelling message (feedback).

Stored experiences in our long-term memory are connected through a series of nodes and networks. This node and connection process, called spreading activation, makes every person different” Since we all have different experiences, connections, and relationships, this supports a theory that the consumer, not the organisation, owns the brand.

Brand Positioning

Organisations seek to develop and project brand perceptions based on internally driven needs and goals.  Although these concepts seem self-evident on the surface, organisations tend to ignore these laws in their daily branding activities.

  • Perceptions are selective
  • Memory is highly selective
  • There is a physiological limitation to processing stimuli
  • A dramatic difference is needed in crowded category
  • How much of your message gets through the clutter depends
  • Minds are both emotional and rational
  • Purchasing decisions are really not known
  • Recall—mind’s remember things that no longer exist

Elements in Building Brand Equity

Brand knowledge structures depend on:
–The initial choices for the brand elements
–The supporting marketing program and the manner by which the brand is integrated into it
–Other associations indirectly transferred to the brand by linking it to some other entities

There are a number of elements that marketers can use to identify and differentiate a brand. Names, logos, symbols, characters, slogans, URLs, jingles and packages all influence a company’s ability to build awareness and image for a brand and, consequently, have a direct impact on the degree of positive brand equity that can be established. Brand elements can be judged on the merits of their brand-building ability by isolating the element in a consumer survey and measuring consumers’ response to the brand based solely on the isolated element. If the consumers infer or assume a certain valued association or response, the element is said to contribute positively to brand equity.

Six general criteria should govern the choice of brand elements.

First, an element should be memorable, or easy to recognize and recall.

Second, an element should be meaningful, or descriptive, persuasive, inherently fun and interesting, and rich in visual and verbal imagery.

Third, an element should be likeable to consumers, in an aesthetic sense and in an emotional sense.

Fourth, an element should be transferable within and across product categories, and across geographical and cultural boundaries.

Fifth, an element should be adaptable, or flexible and capable of being updated over time.

Sixth, an element should be protectable, both legally and competitively.

There are benefits and drawbacks in the choice of each type of brand element. For example, selecting a familiar-sounding name for a brand would likely lead to high recallability, but recognition often requires brand names to be different, distinct, or unusual. Fictitious or coined names are often used to satisfy this criteria. Brand characters are beneficial because they typically aid awareness, reinforce key brand strengths, add elements of fun, excitement, humor, etc., and can be transferred across product categories. Consumer associations with a brand character can be so strong, however, that they actually dampen awareness by dominating other brand elements. Also, brand characters must be updated over time.

Brand elements can be “mixed and matched” for maximum equity building. Brand elements must be mixed to achieve different positioning objectives, for instance. It is also important to match brand elements by ensuring that they harbor similarities that reinforce some shared meaning. Taken together, the entire set of brand elements makes up the brand identity, which reflects the contribution of all the elements to awareness and image.

Managing Brand Extensions

Extension evaluations will depend on what kind of information comes to mind about the core brand in the extension context, whether this information is seen as suggestive of the type of product that the brand extension would be, and whether this information is viewed as good or bad in the extension context in comparison with competitors.

The salience or accessibility of the core brand associations depends on their strength in memory, as well as the retrieval cues provided by the extension context. Some associations may be salient when consumers evaluate some extensions but not others. The relevance of the salient core brand associations depends, in part, on their perceived similarity to the proposed extension product. When overall similarity is high, consumers are more likely to base their extension evaluations on their attitude toward the core brand

When multiple product extensions are associated with the brand, the congruence among their associations becomes an important determinant of the consistency and cohesiveness of the brand image. It is often argued that an extension can help the core brand image by improving the favourability and strength of associations and clarifying the business definition and core benefits for the brand.

It can be said that in some circumstances brand extensions can help to fortify the brand image.

It can also been argued that successful brand extensions may potentially harm the core brand image if they weaken existing associations in some way. If a brand becomes associated with a disparate set of products (goods and service)s, product category identification and the corresponding product associations may become less strong.

Dilution effects, with potentially adverse profit implications, may be especially likely when the existing associations for the core brand are already fairly weak.

Managing Brand Equity

Managing Brand Equity

According to the definition of customer-based brand equity, no single number or measure captures brand equity. Rather, brand equity should be thought of as a multidimensional concept that depends on (1) what knowledge structures are present in the minds of consumers and (2) what actions a firm can take to capitalise on the potential offered by these knowledge structures. Different firms may be more or less able to maximise the potential value of brand according to the type and nature of marketing activities that they are able to undertake.

Six general guidelines may help marketers better manage brand equity.

First, marketers should adopt a broad view of marketing decisions.

Second, marketers should define the knowledge structures that they would like to create in the minds of consumers.

Third, marketers should evaluate the increasingly large number of tactical options available to create these knowledge structures, especially in terms of various marketing communication alternatives.

Fourth, marketers should take a long-term view of marketing decisions.

Fifth, marketers should employ tracking studies to measure consumer knowledge structures over time to

(1) detect any changes in the different dimensions of brand knowledge and

(2) suggest how these changes might be related to the effectiveness of different marketing mix actions.

Finally, marketers should evaluate potential extension candidates for their viability and possible feedback effects on core brand image.

Read the whole article – Finally, marketers should evaluate potential extension candidates for their viability and possible feedback effects on core brand image.


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