Yesterday I attended a workshop on Strategic Marketing conducted by Harvard Business School professor David Bell. One of the case studies we discussed was Samsung and its transition to a marketing led organization. There was a lot of debate on whether Samsung has actually made this transition, when one of the participants, Jessie Paul, contrasted Samsung with a company like Apple and said that while Samsung may have now established a reputation for good quality and reliability, it is still not “loved” by its target segment – customers or prospective, whereas when Apple released its iphone, people queued up to buy one. That shows that Apple is a brand, and its marketing oriented company.
There was one point of view that to create a powerful brand that is “loved” you need to be small and cater to a niche audience. That set me thinking. True, this is one way to create that much needed connect with the target audience, but it is certainly not the only way.
Take for example, Infosys, or a Microsoft. Neither are niche players by any stretch of imagination. But both are powerful brands that have a strong following ( or set of crtitics). Clearly, the messaging needs to have an emotional appeal – that is definitely the underpinning of brand building. In the case of both these companies, their spokespeople, Narayana Murthy and Bill Gates respectively managed to create those connects. In addition, both companies projected themselves strongly as responsible corporate citizens, which adds to the appeal.
Of course, this was backed by stellar business performance.
I deliberately chose examples of technology companies as it is widely believed that it is harder for companies in this industry to create that emotional connect.
It is clear that identifying the right message, and communicating with credibility to establish that resonance with the audience is the crux of building a successful brand, all other things being equal or unequal!