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Branding Rule: Love Your Customer

2014 Branding Rules eBookThis post is an excerpt of our Branding Rules eBook.

Branding means so many things to different people that it has become nebulous. It’s called the “secret sauce” of marketing, but what does that mean?

“Secret sauce” might mean sriracha to some, Tabasco to others, or the intangible and often unidentifiable ingredient that we all seek and/or covet.

We cleared the confusion by gathering 14 branding experts and asked them a question: “If you could impart only one piece of advice about branding, what would it be?”

We compiled the results, added illustrations by Gapingvoid’s Hugh MacLeod, and created the 2014 Branding Rules eBook to provide a resource filled with timeless advice to guide your business’s branding efforts.

Here is advice from Eric Duehring, the General Manager of Global Brand Management and Marketing Innovation at VF Corporation.

Eric Duehring - Branding Rule

Eric Duehring reflects a similar mindset when he says that branding requires a deep understanding of, and love for the consumer:

If you want consumers to love your brand, then you need to love your consumer. Not just value them, but also truly love them. You need to understand them deeply. Dreams and fears. Hopes and desires. Passions and pains. What makes them laugh and cry. Where they come from and where they are going. Who and what has let them down and why.

Listen to them. Not just as an anthropologist, but as a trusted friend – with empathy, imagination and creativity. Don’t just walk in their shoes – live in their hearts and minds.

It’s not enough to just know what makes them tick; you have to love them enough to create something special for them and then stick around to watch, listen and respond. To learn and engage. If you do that, they will love you for it.

It’s clear that technology and data capabilities have shifted the marketing landscape and CMO agenda. I’m a proponent and practitioner. I believe in the SCIENCE, and I work to gain from it.

But building a fact-based and data-driven marketing plan to create efficiency and effectiveness is still just table stakes. They’re required to play, but they won’t win on their own. We still need to create and tell stories that engage and delight.

The art of marketing (and branding) is about creativity, emotion and imagination. It’s human- and talent-driven, and it’s something that no data warehouse, CRM platform or mix modeling can replace. The science matters, so gear up, but don’t lose the Art in the process.

Want more branding advice? Get your free copy of the Branding Rules eBook now!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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