Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

Strategygram: mirror, mirror on the wall

ET BrandEquity.com brings part 30 of Strategygrams weekly series.

This week’s Strategygram titled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” is part of a series created by Sattar Khan, a branding consultant. Each Strategygram condenses a strategic thought into a single image. The collectible series is a visual guide to strategic thinking and provides handy image prompts for your branding workouts.

In a letter to a friend, Kafka declares: “A book must be the ax of the frozen sea in us.

A great brand is like that.

It pierces the protective crust of the consumer’s concerns to lay bare the aspirations that inhabit them, the aspirations that speak of the potential of the desire that the brand unites with keeping the promise, the aspirations that push us towards a better version of ourselves. ourselves, transmuting us from Me Now to Better Me (whatever “Better” might mean to us).

“We don’t sell motorcycles,” admits the general manager of the most famous American brand of motorcycles, the one that we see being driven by gangs of burly bearded men in Hollywood blockbusters. “What we’re selling,” he admits, “is the ability for a 43-year-old accountant to dress in black leather and walk through small towns and scare people.”

We carry in the secret corners of our minds a mental script that we seek to implement in real life, with brands acting as props and facilitators to this role play.

Some time ago, a toilet cleaner brand conducted a qualitative study with housewives. Participants were invited to draw their vision of the ideal toilet.

A housewife drew an antiseptic operating room-style toilet, with tiny germs running away. Another lady drew a toilet that had a leafy green plant and a window through which the sun’s rays shone, illuminating the place – a very different vibe from the antiseptic environment the first lady was drawing. Even though the functionality of the toilet cleaner would be identical for both housewives, the mythical brand world that the toilet cleaner would need to create to resonate with either housewives’ mental video, wouldn’t.

That’s what a brand does. It uses sensory cues, symbols and images to project a brand world that syncs with our aspirations, our internal storyline…even if there is no inherent connection between these aspirations and the brand or its category.

You remember, of course, that in your first year in marketing, when you came across that legendary case of how a brand of cigarettes, introduced in 1924 for female smokers, its femininity underscored by the slogan “Mild as May”, changed overnight 30 years after its introduction, to male imagery, with cowboys wearing Stetson hats and riding stallions and herding cattle in the open countryside, its archetypal brand universe embodies the freedom and independence, the brand being rewarded for its efforts by a doubling of its sales in the first two years of the repositioning.

The guiding star of a brand is the anxieties and aspirations of its customers. It is addressed to those, resonating beyond the limits of its class. When an athletic sneaker brand invites you to “unlock your greatness” by throwing off your duff and going for a run, the sale isn’t just about fitness, it’s about your sense of personal accomplishment. When an airline asks, “When was the last time you first discovered something?” pitch isn’t just about air travel, it’s about your enthusiasm for life.

One of the characteristics of a great brand is the quality with which its customers feel good.

We buy the brands – their aura of mystique, their enticing vision of a better life – and co-create with them the story of ourselves, a life better lived, through individual experiences staged within an extensive but only partially visible tribe of co-users.

With every brand decision moment, a question subvocally pops into our heads: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, which brand elevates me best?”

Does the mirror respond with your brand name?

Check out the first twenty-nine Strategygrams: “Speed ​​Kills”, “Half Bridges Don’t Work”, “No Contest”, “The Silent Clue”, “Who’s For Lunch?” “, “Competition Is A Monster”, “The Distinctive Sells the Difference”, “Strategy as History”, “Timing Beats Speed”, “Conquering Fort Customer”, “How Are You Different? », « The Villain and The Hero Inside », « Galileo’s Discovery », « The Strategic Logic Chain » ‘, ‘The Brand Experience Trio’, ‘Deer in the Headlights’, ‘Do the maths’, ‘An insight is like a tram car’, ‘The leap of insights and ideas’, ‘The Three Monkeys of Strategy’, ‘The breakthrough is in the question’, The tango of problem solving, ‘Going for simplicity’, ‘Head on a plateau”, “The slippery slope of good”, “It is renewed or new”, “The elasticity of affection”, “Aesthetic seduction” and “Seeing different to think differently”.

-Sattar Khan can be contacted at [email protected]

Marilyn J. Hernandez