Angels in the Brand World?

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Maggie O'Neill.

Grand-central-haloAs a semi-lapsed Irish Catholic, my memories of halos are all stained glass windows and guardian angels. 

But today, it’s the brand halo that would-be, angelic marketers are chasing.  But can we create one, manage one or keep one -  that is the real question.  Or is someone else, i.e. the consumer, calling the shots?

So non-angelic halos are the rippling effect that one good, or bad, product, deed or development can have on an entire corporation.  Apple has a halo effect – think I love my iPad therefore I will get a Mac.  Samsung sells refrigerators because people love their cell phones.  A few good shows are driving Netflix buzz.  The preceding are examples of how halo effects of one product or service drives brand preference. 

And yes, there are fallen angels and broken halos.  Think recalls, environmental dumping, bad leadership.

So as a marketer what can you do?  Nurture the halo yes; create it no. 

Consumers make or break a corporation’s halo.  If they believe in a brand or product, their preference, loyalty and hard earned dollars feed into that brand’s corporate entity (something easy to ID nowadays with one Google search). 

But companies, if aware of the halo effect’s existence, can certainly nurture it.  And, if an organization thinks they can hide from it, they need to pull their head out of the sand, and fast. Some believe no one will ever know the company behind their brand, or care if they try to brush one little misstep under the rug.  Untrue.  Each, and every, move can polish or dull the halo.

Second, companies need to look beyond the bells and whistles that first made their consumer brand loyal, and talk to their audience about the benefits that matter most to them.  An oven isn’t just about cooking and a camera isn’t about the best zoom in the industry.  They’re about taking care of family and creating memories, respectively.

Finally, it’s about doing good.  Not just CSR type of good— which does help support both brand and corporate— but doing good as a company: treat employees well, provide unmatched customer service, embrace practices that think about a company’s impact on the world.  This is a lot to think about, but an every increasingly important element to the savvy consumer. In a recent white paper on this, we found that companies like Unilever have 10-year plans to achieve a sustainable halo effect.  

So as Sister Anne Marie always told me, if I was a good girl, nice to my classmates, and did what I was supposed to, I would be rewarded.  With the three nurturing thoughts above, and with a long-term vision and commitment to transparency and constancy, I guess that’s true for brands too. 


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