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Is building a brand important?

We’re all being told that what we have to do to make a success out of our businesses is to build a brand. And it has been good advice but one of the world’s foremost gurus on advertising is recommending we opt for ‘love’ as key tool to build our businesses.
Kevin Roberts, who heads up the international ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi released a book called Lovemarks: the Future Beyond Brands and he is telling us that we have to create a brand that makes customers think about their love for your product.

So where do you start?

Trade marks are a fantastic starting point in a successful business but you will need to add a big doe of love to get the best value out of the investment into your brand.
Roberts points to the passion Mac people show for their Apple Macs. Aussies often have it when it comes to Qantas and flying overseas.

The Australian Reader’s Digest looks at the most trusted brands every two years and outfits such as Cadbury, Colgate, Woolworths, Panadol, Kellogs and Qantas have been in the top 10 in 2002 and 2004.

The trust factor is related to love

Consumers have more access to information and are more cynical of brands that bombard us.

How do you create ‘love?’

Roberts says we have to create love that means our customers will be loyal to us beyond reason.
The best bit is that if you invest in love you can often charge higher prices. If you are a big giver to your customers, ultimately you can be a big charger. That’s a nice thought.

Do you have any local examples?

A new Sydney-based business has taken a big punt on information technology solutions in creating a one-stop shop for anyone searching for tradespeople.

At the core of this business is an idea to solve a big problem for customers. If the business is marketed effectively and it delivers on its promise it could easily be considered as a business that is into lovemarks.

Called, it is the brainchild of Scott Maxworthy and was born out of the frustration of trying to find tradespeople in the Yellow Pages and then trying to ring around to nail a number of people who would actually turn up to give a quote.

The one big gamble Mr Maxworthy has taken is on consumers and the trades being ready for an IT solution to an age-old problem.
“A Boston Consulting report once pointed out that those in building and construction are at the agricultural end of adopting new technology,” he said. “We had to take small steps to migrate them from mobile phone and fax to SMS and then to the Internet.”

This 24/7 operation provides a free online find-a-tradesman service with direct contact to more than 44,280 trades people available across Australia.
Called Trade Select, the business aims to cut down the hassle of searching through the Yellow Pages and then having to cope with unanswered phone calls, leaving voice-messages and hanging out waiting for tradespeople to turn up with quotes.

The service operating in all states has a bank including plumbers, bricklayers, electricians, painters, builders, architects, engineers, excavators, carpenters, plasterers, metal workers, water-proofers, landscapers and interior designers.

“You simply go to the BANGitUP.COM website, type in the trade — electrician, plumber, painter, whichever,” Mr Maxworthy explained. “You then put in your postcode or suburb, select from options the approximate cost of the job and when you want the job done, a very brief description of it, your email address and a phone number. It takes about a minute.”

Once the request is made the system fires out the request, via SMS, directly to a list of registered, appropriate tradesmen in the area.

The tradespeople read it on mobile phones or PDA’s. Interested and available tradesmen send back a message through the system which comes up as an email or on a mobile phone, often within minutes.”

Mr Maxworthy says the service is not just targeted to homeowners but also building companies, local councils, sub-contractors and architectural firms.

What happens if customers say they don’t love your brand?

The most successful businesses in this country, such as Paul Cave’s Bridgeclimb has grown not only out of a great idea, like, but also on an unswerving commitment to search for customer feedback.

Paul says he is really disappointed when he is not given criticism, though I suspect it is tongue-in-cheek, because he believes he is being robbed of reforms he could make to create an even better business.

Climbing the Harbour Bridge is one of the most sought-after desires for a UK tourist in the entire world! That’s effectively a love affair from afar.

Apart from the appeal of the challenge, Paul’s business has benefited from fantastic word-of-mouth advertising from those who have had a real love experience with the business.

Like love in real life, you are going to have to give “a whole lotta love” to get it back from customers.

Published on: Sunday, June 28, 2009

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