Why Would You “Pick” A Brand?
Let’s assume you’re somewhat savvy about online marketing, and you’re looking to start a company selling widgets to the untamed masses of people that roam planet Earth.
One of the biggest roadblocks that people face is, “What do I name my company?” There are also dozens of other evil thoughts that invade your headspace and stop you from doing any actual work. Things like:
- What should my logo look like?
- How do I build my brand?
- What is my branding?
- What goes on my website?
- Which products should I sell?
- Do I need to Tweet?
- What should my packaging look like?
The answer to all of these questions is “It doesn’t matter.”
You can spend thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours trying to come up with “the brand” and all those other little design details, and it won’t make the slightest bit of difference to the success of your product.
Or, you can be sensible and use the ancient secrets of ascended marketing masters to come to these decisions as a by-product of actual work.
If that sounds good, read on.
Ancient Secrets Of Marketing Masters
Let’s say you’re creating a widget that you sell to twenty-something guys with too much money to spend and too many hopes of attracting supermodel girlfriends.
Quite naturally, you decide that aftershave is a great thing to try and sell, because it has a ludicrous price point and for some reason, those twenty-something guys believe that aftershave will score them the supermodel girls.
It’s a great idea and it has great potential.
What should you do?
If you internally answered, “Design the packaging”, “work out a French-sounding name” or “start tweeting about what it takes to be an alpha male” then you’re wrong.
Here’s the reality of that situation: You have no idea what’s going to work. Maybe your target audience is going to love the “21st Century Noir” style packaging with sleek-black perfume bottles and a slightly-bearded guy looking pensively into the distance.
Perhaps they’re going to think, “Le Alpha” is a great brand name.
The fact is… you don’t know. You might strike gold or you might flop. In any case, there’s absolutely no way of knowing whether any of this branding stuff works.
Or is there?
There is. It’s called “Direct Marketing.”
By “Direct Marketing” I mean that as soon as you have your prototype product (or even before if you’re clever) you can learn about what to build your brand around scientifically.
That’s right… you can split test these ideas with your basic product and no previous assumptions.
Quick Split-Testing Experiment For Your New Product
Once you have a minimum viable product, you can put up a sales letter. This will be your control. Forget branding or anything else. Just have a page which is something like a long-form version of this:
Does This Aftershave Smell Better Than Anything Else In The World Ever?
Our aftershave is made from Unicorn Tears and lightly-burned cinnamon.
It’s a premium product for the premium man.
Boring features and all that.
We’re testing out an entirely new range, and we’re inviting some of you lucky people to test it out.
Get it for a limited time for $25 instead of $70.
Buy it now because this initial batch has only fifty bottles.
P.S. It’s awesome.
Now send a little bit of targeted traffic to it. Maybe a couple of hundred eyeballs at the most. Assuming your product converts, you can go on to the next step.
If it doesn’t convert, then there’s some issue with your core offer. Be wary about moving on.
Change The Branding One Thing At A Time
Now, depending on how you run the above test, you might concentrate on getting a mailing list of early adopters. You can ask them questions about branding, packaging and the like.
If not and you’ve just got some early sales, then that’s good too.
Now you split-test everything like you would do with a normal funnel. Pick five angles to work with and base the product name and marketing messages around those.
- LongLast Aftershave lasts longer than all the others
- SuperAlpha Aftershave makes men fear you and women want you
- EcoShave Aftershave is so good for the environment, it practically plants trees itself
- SportyShave smells good even after a massive gym session
- LuxuryShave Aftershave is made with minerals mined from the Asteroid Belt and evokes feeling of Colonial Superiority
Really, once you’ve split test the basic angles and you’ve got a product that’s selling well from the results of the first test, you’re already most of the way there.
Once you “niche down” with your most successful angle, you’ll be able to cater to the specific market that bites and from there on out the rest writes itself.
For instance, if the EcoShave angle from above worked, you’d cut out the luxury ingredients handpicked by poor kids in the Congo and replace it with images of some lush rainforest and a smiling farmer guy with a baby goat or something.
You could, if you felt the need, rebrand the company entirely around the successful angle and dominate the eco-hippy-aftershave niche with a fully branded identity. Give some bonuses to the early adopters when you relaunch and they’ll probably be your best customers.
Final Thoughts: What’s The Point In This?
The above method is designed to bypass all the ridiculously expensive and time-consuming activities people get up to when they launch a product – or worse – before they launch the product.
The crazy thing about exercises in brand building and market awareness is that they’re based on gut feeling and provide no useable data with which to work. You then throw time and money into some very subjective stuff and never know whether it’s worked – or more likely, where your money went.
With this, you’ll know whether your product will sell, who is buying it and how to brand it.
If you spent $100 on the initial test and then $100 testing each angle, then you’d have spent $600 total… and you’d have made money back by then on the product sales and potentially grabbed a sizeable list of customers too, so the costs of doing this are negligible.
Most importantly, you’re building a product launch around data and objective performance indicators.
Oh, and once you’ve sorted out your product, you could literally run this test in less than a week. It sure beats months of brainwork and borrowing your grandmother’s pension pot.