“The genuineness and authenticity of a brand are the new gold standard.”
In a super insightful and riveting conversation on our podcast with the maestro of marketing, Neal Foard, we uncovered the reasons behind what makes a brand successful and stand apart from the competition.
“The most important thing for brands is the authenticity that they have to conduct themselves in the world in a way that people will be satisfied with. It isn’t enough to simply create a public persona, because it’s quite easy for people to discover how false that might be down the line.” – Neal Foard — CMO, Within Inc.
Read on to get a gist of this enriching conversation and pick some pearls of wisdom on marketing, brand authenticity, connecting with your customers, and fostering long-lasting relations with them.
What Makes for a Good Brand?
In the current landscape, people have access to information about brands from various sources. They can easily find out the good, the bad, and the ugly, just like reading an Amazon review. This abundance of readily available information has shifted the focus of marketing from traditional messaging to the overall brand experience.
It is crucial for marketers to understand that the brand’s experience holds greater importance than marketing messages alone. To stand out in today’s environment, marketing should infuse products with excitement, energy, and unexpectedness. This way, when consumers encounter the brand in the real world, their experience surpasses their expectations, leaving them pleasantly surprised. Moreover, the enthusiasm and belief in the brand among its employees significantly impact people’s impressions.
For instance, in the hotel industry, it is not only how the guests are treated that matters the most; it is equally important how the employees are treated. The way employees are treated ultimately reflects in their interactions with guests and unintentionally influences their impressions. Therefore, prioritizing employee satisfaction becomes a crucial aspect of running a successful hotel or any business.
Therefore, marketers must recognize the power of brand experiences as a whole in shaping consumer perceptions and differentiate themselves by delivering exceptional experiences.
Toyota & The Kaizen Principle
What Toyota taught Neal is the authenticity of their values. When you feel their genuine belief in product quality and the principle of Kaizen (continuous improvement), you no longer need to rely on product reviews on any outside platform. Their conviction in themselves and their brand makes you a loyal customer, akin to a religious believer fully committed to their faith. It would be difficult for a customer to consider any other alternative.
“It’s not really the cleverness of a brand’s message, it’s the sincerity and the degree of belief in it.”, says Neal.
Toyota stands as a remarkable example of a company that wholeheartedly embraces and embodies its core values. Being a renowned global super brand, it solidifies its presence by establishing large-scale industrial operations in the countries where its products are sold. The behavior and operations of these factories serve as a strong indicator of the brand’s authenticity. It becomes evident whether the individuals involved in building and running the factories truly believe in and uphold the brand’s values.
Tap on the link below to listen to an interesting story Neal shared about his experience with Toyota and the valuable lessons he learned on branding (pro tip — skip to parts 4:25 and 30:31).
Internal Unity: A Key Indicator of Brand Strength
Neal shares his experience with another popular brand which was a mix of admiration and disappointment for him. During a meeting, he witnessed two departments engaged in a heated internal conflict, which raised doubts about their commitment to their own values. From his experience, he highlights the fact that, if there is disunity within the company, how can one trust the sincerity or integrity of the brand? It is crucial that everyone genuinely believes in and embraces the brand values as only then can employees become powerful brand ambassadors who carry the company’s beliefs like evangelists. This, in Neal’s opinion, is the true indicator of a brand’s strength.
In summary, under the current circumstances, it is essential for marketers to recognize the power of brand experiences in a world where information is easily accessible. By aligning product experiences with consumer expectations and fostering a positive internal culture, brands can leave a lasting impression and differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market.
Listen to the full episode and find out what more Neal has to say on successful branding and marketing. Also, get to know about his favorite book, what he’d do if he were a president for a day, and many such interesting facts about him!
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