Cultivating Brand Enthusiasm

Developing loyalists for brands and security for CMOs

Brandtailing … a retailers response to discovery sale

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There is a school of thought in our business defined by the phrase ‘Brandtailing’. In theory it promises that a company, most typically a multi-market retail location, can build a brand identity largely by promoting the products it offers with featured price points.

If the discovery sale can get lost in nuance, there is little left to wonder after a brandtailing exposure.  No higher purpose, no cultural value, no peekaboo. Its now, its immediate, and its music to a retailers ears who simply want to count the receipts based on the Target Rating Points delivered in a given market over a given period of time.

Paul Keye taught young account executives at his agency that every time a bad ad is created a pixie dies. The practitioners of brandtailing clearly have no fear or shame when it comes to decolonizing entire continents of pixies. If I never see another ad that butchers a brand in the name of price-item advertising it can not be too soon.

That’s not to say that price/item advertising isn’t essential for many marketers. It is. But when your ad is about your price, your brand is about your price. Period.

That said, the brilliant minds behind the Value Menu at McDonald’s or the Taco Bell .79, .89, .99 strategies are proof positive that price item advertising can peacefully coexist within a marketing mix of brand image messaging and price promotion.  Their genius is that they instinctively understood that there are appropriate moments for leading prospective customers down the discovery path, and other times the need to close the sale through intelligent targeted promotion is equally appropriate.

The magic is in the timing of the messaging.

I owe you an explanation of duality in marketing, but for the moment, let’s just go with the concept that in all things there exist two contrasting paths: good and evil, victory and defeat, promiscuity and virtuosity, ad infinitum.

So two guys are in a bar. Both have the same goal. No, not the high-minded one.

The first is the practitioner of the ‘discovery sale’.  A little about you, a little about me, an inference from a friend, etc. She really likes him (not in a high-minded way). But as the clock ticks on, her interest begins to slip away.

The second is the practitioner of ‘brandtailing’.  Fifteen women in the room. Fourteen hard slaps across the face. 

Close too soon and you get shown the door. Fail to close and the door silently shuts without you ever knowing that it happened.

The obvious inference here is that you have to find the right mix.  A little discovery. A little hard sell. Most importantly, you need to determine when and where to best deliver those message: at point of discovery, at point of sale, at point of use, and at point of discussion. 

NEXT ON THE DOCKET:  St. George, King of the Baskervilles, Herald of Happiness

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Author: Michael Littman

Vine-ripened and carefully aged, Michael Littman is the son of a legendary Texas ad man, a brand positioning specialist who is passionate about integrating brand identities seamlessly within an organization. Michael and his wife Mary are proud parents of sons Ryan and Robert. Pursuits outside of the brand world include wakeboarding, waterskiing, tennis, golf, fandom, reading, writing, and travel. You can find him gainfully employed at Doe-Anderson in Louisville, Kentucky.

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