In the first several entries of this series, I discussed the relationship between our products and our customer's perception of them--of us. I elaborated on how the crux of positioning is to create a new space and claim it as your own, in that way becoming the leader, the first. In my most-recent entry, I focused on the pros and cons of using one name for multiple product lines. This week, we'll look at the power of using one name--and sticking with it.
Can one word speak for a thousand? A hundred thousand? It can if it's a "word" (concept) the prospect already knows, associates with your desired intent and if the "word" is available for you to claim as your own. If someone else is there ahead of you, either reposition the competition or move on and find another word to claim as your own.
In a product advertisement, the dominant element is usually visual. We sell our books, quite often, based on an initial reaction to a thumbnail image of our book's cover--our books are judged by their covers. Often.
Then our books are judged by their content, their words. Not necessarily the specific words we wrote, but rather by the word--the marketing concept we used to promote our book. Even more importantly than the word we claimed as our own is whether or not the customer believes we delivered the "word" as we promised we would.
That is, are we claiming to be one thing and then delivering a completely different kind of Reader Experience? That's called a "bait and switch," and it has to be one of the worst kinds of Reader Experiences out there. In fact, I'd venture to guess it's next to impossible to live down once you've been caught doing it. Add to that, the viral power of the internet and you have a career waiting to crash just as it's begun launching.
To rehash my earlier example, using a career that is definitely well-established enough it won't crash but has side-tracked recently in a glaringly obvious way, I return to James Patterson. Sorry, James Patterson, but you're just making it too easy to pick on your marketing strategies!
If you promote yourself as a thriller writer, don't deliver a bedtime story for children. I don't think it's his fault. I think his publisher and their marketing department are clueless as to how much damage they're doing and he's trusting them--or contractually obligated to help them dilute his message.
They are destroying his solid positioning as a thriller author in their attempts to spin off a new product line. Line extension is the antithesis of branding and positioning. Doubt that is true? Think about this: Will Patterson's adult customers see his kids books as "Pattersons"? I say no. I say his thriller customer base know what "a Patterson" is and a quiet little lullaby ain't it.
If "a Patterson" is supposed to be a thriller, then he should not be promoting "Patterson" as the author of children's bedtime stories. It confuses the customer of the thrillers he writes in a market he had been dominating. His sales are not slipping compared to say, Joe Konrath (haha, hi Joe!) but compared to James Patterson a year ago?
The marketing strategy of using one name for two brands also confuses the potential customers of the bedtime story market into which he is trying to break. He's never going to completely lose his spot in the thriller market but his sales will only get worse if he persists in asserting himself as a children's book author. He'll be actively associating a concept that is in conflict with his primary product idea--he's contradicting his own word and repositioning himself! His competition, no doubt, thanks him.
Hopefully, by now, you can see the importance of understanding what's in the prospect's mind. If you know how they think, you can speak their language. You cannot force them to speak your language until you are already inside their mind. You must claim a space inside their mind and then begin your promotion because from the inside-out, they'll think your ideas are their own.
If you meet the customer where they are instead of forcing them to come to you, they'll accept your idea as perfectly reasonable because they'll recognize it. You will have completely by-passed their filters and will fit into their existing framework of simple ideas.
You won't have to "persuade" anyone to think the way you want because you can direct (or redirect) the way they think from the inside, out. This is the power of positioning.
Conditioned Response is officially "on sale" Friday, April 20, 2012 though you can buy a copy at Smashwords right now if you'd like an UNPROOFED GALLEY version now and get access to the future, final updates later. The first four chapters are definitely totally done!)
Until I buy Hootsuite Pro, I can't learn the ins and outs to share with you so tomorrow, either I'll return to the Facebook-ism I "shelved" several weeks ago or I'll go over some advanced searching techniques for Twitter. Tune in Tuesday at 10am ET/USA to find out which way I go! LOL.
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