three Keys To Balancing Model Promise And Supply
We live in an exciting time in which innovation and technological progress are so widespread that they are not only anticipated but also expected. The rapid pace at which we are developing products and services to make them smarter, more adaptable and more automated is nothing short of astonishing. What impact does this have on the brand promises made?
As a marketer, there is a clear desire to lead with the vision and promise of what's to come. the desired state of form and function, in which a product or service may not be, but how it builds itself. If you pursue a strategy of brand communication based on aspirations, the world of creative possibilities opens up. However, this entails great responsibility for how far a brand can and should go, without misleading or misrepresenting what it can really do.
Let's look at a few brands that make high promises and how their delivery fits their marketing.
Tesla and Cybertruck
A brand that makes high, bold promises and delivers too little
It was the shock that was heard around the world. The bold promise behind Tesla's cyber truck; Windows that can withstand everything, shatterproof and above all protected from bullets and break-ins. In a live demo on stage, a confident Elon Musk wanted to prove his point of view by trying to break the glass of his cyber truck, which turned out to be unbreakable. Unfortunately, the glass broke. Not just a small crack, but a full break. Sure, it was an anomaly, a little mishap. He kicked the glass a second time and broke it again. Bold statements and bold stunts led to an embarrassing representation of a vehicle that could not meet the claimed properties. Tesla, known for its progressive technological development in the field of intelligent vehicles, had the power and credibility to present something new in an impressive way. They may have gone too far, too fast, and their bold assertion and bold stunt have finally dissolved on a very public, very lively stage.
The consequences play into a narrative about whether a consumer can believe or trust Tesla's promise. Is it all for the show and everything for reporting? Is there still validity which Tesla claims are possible and what they stand for? Driving down is a dangerous road. A brand that is known in many respects as innovative, progressive and revolutionary and whose reputation can be quickly lifted or questioned if the results are too promising and the results are too low due to trust indices that are too high.
Alexa and Amazon
A brand that leads with its state of the future and works in parallel with delivery
Me: "Hey Alexa, why can you never answer the question I am asking you?"
Alexa: "I'm sorry, I don't know."
I appreciate the polite joke that is woven into the technology, but the frustration feels real. A tool that has been developed and marketed to simplify and improve my daily life by acting as a kind of virtual assistant. However, my simple queries often have a mismatch or no match within Alexa’s skill library.
As a consumer, I can be too harsh in my criticism because my expectations can be too high. In part, I owe that to the marketing Amazon has done to highlight the simplicity, lightness, and effectiveness that Alexa can use for many tasks. If Amazon has made great strides and successes in both product improvement and marketing, it is the company's ability to attract a variety of high-profile partners (Bose, Samsung, Kohler, GE, etc.) and to develop and deliver new skills with for whom the product has to be dimensioned and fully implemented. World in which Alexa lives; the human world filled with complex needs and interests. The credibility component that Amazon does not need is added value, as Amazon connects Alexa to a variety of different brands that choose to include their brands in the Alexa library and offers an extension of services and the impression that Alexa can and can be a command center for the ultimate smart living environment. So far, there are more than 4,500 brands and more than 28,000 devices that can be controlled by users who give Alexa commands to Alexa devices. It's no small feat and a clear indication from Amazon of the dedication and investment they make to work with Alexa.
Because Amazon is so far advanced in developing its vision for an AI-supported intelligent life, it's easy to incorporate Amazon Alexa’s promise. The constant evolution of programming new skills and improving technology in the backend contribute to the type of functionality that we see in marketing. However, brand delivery is inevitably flat and inherently disappointing as the expectations we have based on the skills shown by Alexa are not being met.
Apple and new product features / launch of new products
A brand that pays off in terms of delivery reliability and reconciles demand and reality
Apple is an interesting use case. A brand with some of the most productive and memorable marketing products in the world, some of the most groundbreaking products in the world, and one of the most popular and well-known brands in the world. It is creative and combines the beauty of art and science, much like their products. Her storytelling told through a lens of emotion; sometimes assignable, sometimes almost imaginative.
Apple is known to be the first in the market to offer numerous new improvements and enhancements that continue to prove that this brand is a brand that knows how to reward its development with working features and functions. Apple is not without mistakes, like every brand, but in principle they rely on their strengths and shape their marketing in a way that inspires consumers, but does not offer more than it can deliver.
Apple is a brand that has found the elusive balance between demand and functionality. It creates a powerful, moving, and engaging story that is rooted in every value proposition it presents: new camera quality with the iPhone 11, more creative editing tools in the iPad Pro, or waterproof features with the new Apple Watch. The consumer is always clear about what the improvement or breakthrough is and is masterfully demonstrated through creative work that creates intrigue and emotion, but does not oversell or promise too much. It's the right balance between leading a brand promise that pays off when the delivery meets consumer expectations.
What does this mean for brands that are in this area?
The reality is that the technology on the market that enables us to live with smart devices is amazingly impressive. Development and iteration are progressing so fast that it's almost as if we are crossing milestones to get to the next one as quickly as possible, with just as quick testing, learning, and customizing the model. Sometimes you have to learn and adapt. The product is already on the market.
There are only so many times that a brand can prove itself, and both the consumer and the retail markets question exactly what "good", "groundbreaking", "innovative" or "significant" looks like. For brands that want to be leaders with a product or service that promises change, it is important that it is clear how much you are selling to your customers in relation to a future promise compared to a current reality. Increase your brand promise and brand value in a way that you know will pay off and build on your creative story, messaging, and campaigns.
Say what you mean and what you say: One of the biggest advantages of a brand is its ability to be trustworthy. This trust is built up over time by brands that demonstrate that their claims are correct. You can be a future-oriented brand that offers a great product or service. To do this and match what you deliver, you need to make sure that your messages and your creativity match. Nowadays, brands are judged by the strength of the evidence that supports their claims.
Lead with what you can consistently deliver: It is important to define and control consumer expectations of the boundaries between future status and current functions. Presenting something as a state of the future or an endeavor through a creative lens sets an ambitious accent, but make sure that your brand has a creative distinction between the present and the future. Consumers want to be involved in the story, but they also want to get what they pay for and make sure you balance these worlds in terms of messaging and creativity.
Play the long game: The race into the future has no finish line. If you are going to build a brand whose value proposition should be based on the promise of innovation and progress, it is important to base yourself on where you are and where you want to be and to develop your story from there. If you are in an early stage of development, consider how you position and present your brand. If you are an established brand with a track record, you should consider your reputation and the expectations of your consumers. If you build trust early and often and keep the promises you made, you will be in a better position to achieve long-term success.
The Blake project can help: The Strategic Brand Storytelling Workshop
Branding Strategy Insider is a service from The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy that specializes in brand research, brand strategy, brand growth and brand building
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