Brand Building On Brand Attitude

Mark Di SommaFebruary 3, 20141 min

Isn’t this such a great thought? “Don’t build a product, then try to market it. Instead, build a customer attitude, then build a product to match that attitude.” It’s part of an absorbing and insightful article by Graeme Newell on why you shouldn’t focus your advertising around your product.

And it points to a parallel thought for me that clearly distinguishes brands with purpose from those that lack purpose. Purposeful brands focus on the history of the attitude that drives them far more than their chronicled timeline. They talk about what first motivated them to want to change the world and what impels them to continue shaking the tree. That’s powerful precisely because it’s timeless. And it’s relevant because it’s so connective. It explains to those of a similar mind how a brand they like came to the very same realizations that they have.

By way of a structure for such a story, I hacked Emma Coats’ wonderful Pixar code to render my take on how marketers might retell how they came to be the brand they are. This is the result:

When we started, everyone believed …

We were so outraged by this, we decided to …

And then we …

And then we …

Suddenly people found they could …

So we …

Today, our customers …

And we continue to …

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Mark Di Somma


  • Mark Taylor

    February 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I love that, Mark (and your name, for what it’s worth)! I’m going to have to hold on to that “Pixar code” of yours for future use.
    Of course, a big part of the problem is that the term “branding” is thrown around so much and yet understood so little…but when it comes down to it, it’s the very breath of a business.

  • Serge

    February 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I like the thought mentioned in the beginning. This really sounds like a valid strategy. As soon as you build an audience that is ready to comprehend and perceive your product, you are able to create that product and give people what they are waiting for. In such a way you’ll meet all their needs. Isn’t that what brands should do? But the hardest thing will be to carry out this plan. Because it’s all about customers’ data, behavior and analyzing. If something goes wrong, it can turn out that you were preparing the wrong people for the wrong product.

  • martyn straw

    February 4, 2014 at 5:31 am

    A great and timely point. Perhaps the lingering temptation to advertise product attributes not brand purpose is a throw-back to consumer goods and a time of significant product differentiation. I like also the implication that the brand “belongs” to the consumer

    Now has never been a better time to execute a brand purpose strategy with the cross-channel opportunities we have today; the tools to engage the consumer experientially – including exact path to purchase management, retail experience, communications, etc.

    The watch-out is making a single misstep in planning the cross-channel experience – then the purpose becomes blurry. Centralized planning is therefore key to creating and sustaining brand purpose.

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