Why Should We Invest In Branding, Not Sales?
Does your customer decide by thought?
Let’s find out together, step by step.
Let’s say you have a cow. You sell its milk and earn money. After some time, milk prices drop so much that you start to lose with the current feed prices, and it also seems that prices will not increase in the coming period. Would you slaughter the animal and sell it as meat?
Before making the decision, you immediately calculate with your mind: “I get X liters of milk from the animal per day. Multiply by 30 to see it per month. Multiply by 365 per year. Great! Milk price times annual milk production is also my annual endorsement. What are my expenses? How much feed does the animal eat per day? Multiply it with 365.” Facility costs, human costs, milking machines, sustainability costs… With the rough calculation here, a profit or a loss emerges. If there is a loss, you either sell the milk for higher prices or reduce the costs. The price is determined as a competitive one in the market.
Costs can also be reduced to a certain extent, but just like we said, only “to a certain extent.” Is there an alternative solution? Is it possible to sell the animal as meat while bearing the exact costs while growing the animal? What is the price per kilo of beef? How much does your animal weigh? Is it possible to generate more revenue than the cost? In addition to these, some unknown barriers come to your mind; for example, what will the future price of milk be? The health of the animal, as well as its possible death. Changes in legal regulations or working conditions are also possible. Despite these unknowns, we try to make the right decision with reasoning. The results may not be what we exactly want.
We may make the wrong decision, but there is a calculation and reasoning in this approach even though it’s a wrong decision.
Either we look at this rough calculation and continue to milk, or we slaughter the animal and sell its meat.
When we act rationally, measuredly, and calculated in decision-making processes, like in this article, we call it rational thinking. With this method, our chance of making the right decision increases, or predicting the consequences even if we make a wrong decision gets more accessible. Rational thinking is an action that takes time and effort. Our biology, on the other hand, works by savings. If a truck is coming on your way, your brain has evolved to escape without thinking, not to calculate the estimated speed of the car and pick the best case scenario to save your life.
In our daily life, we often act without thinking. We hold the computer or phone involuntarily. We don’t think when we drink a sip of water from our glasses. We don’t calculate every step we take when we walk. We change gears reflexively; we don’t think about changing gears in the car. Our life flows through thoughtlessly. This flow is similar to Spinoza’s saying: “If a stone which has been projected through the air, had consciousness, it would believe that it was moving of its own free will. “
This state of mindlessness is a habit that has been formed with lots of repetition. It is an ongoing behavior change and attitude that has optimized with wrong decisions, reinforced with right choices. Such as always using the same path on the way home, taking out your phone and refreshing your social media app involuntarily, preparing coffee or tea without thinking when you get up. One of the most important things a marketer should think about and consider in their product experience is this habit and how to form it.
Your purpose as a marketer is to ensure that the consumer who goes to a supermarket puts your brand in the basket without thinking or looking at the price. Marketing aims to become the first food people consume without thinking when they open the refrigerator at home, to be the first snack that comes to mind when people say they are hungry, to be the bank people choose without calculating how they’re going to pay back thanks to the instant loan advantages you provide, the mobile market application that users reflexively click when there is no milk left at home… These are examples of marketing.
If we leave the purchasing power aside, you do not order the new model of the iPhone as the best phone in the market. If you compare it with other phones, you can never buy an iPhone amongst dozens of more rational options. If you’re getting an iPhone, you didn’t think much of it, and most Apple products are like this. They offer you an integrated universe of habits.
You prefer BP to buy gas without thinking, but you would think a little before stopping by Noname Petroleum. You choose Starbucks without consideration. You think twice before you enter a cafe branded poorly “X Coffee”. You don’t need to think about your favorite dairy if the diary you always buy is on the shelf already; you start to think when you can’t find that brand on the shelf. You do not compare the weight, amount of chocolate, or price while putting known brand snacks into your basket. For example, I am sure you definitely have a favorite burger or a pizza you order without thinking. In summary, if I should express myself with a Spinoza quote: “If a consumer who puts a product in the basket could think, he would think that he bought the product by his choice.”
Well, this is what we call “marketing success.”
Your customers nor I am successful in making rational decisions naturally. When we design marketing communications, we should prefer long-term communications that will create a brand culture rather than communication that will increase only short-term sales and solve the customer’s needs. We must build a brand culture based on product experience, and we must invest in branding, not sales. The “how” part of doing this requires a very broad strategy work and a challenging brand-building process that may take many years.
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