On Saturday we took Izobel to McDonald’s.
But I didn’t call it McDonalds in front of Izobel.
I just said we were going for a burger.
I focused on the category – not the brand.
I don’t want McDonald’s to be a part of my 2 year old’s vocabulary.
This will happen soon enough.
The kind of ‘mental addiction’ (this is a pretty accurate phrase) that this brand is likely to effect on my daughter is powerful.
So I don’t want to fan the flames.
I will have to tackle the effects of this soon enough.
If you run a business however, you want to do the opposite.
Focus on the name – not the category.
More now than ever.
Because of voice controlled devices.
You want to be a brand and you want to stand for something.
Be a Brand.
Be a brand because within a year or three, if we want a burger we will shout at a device in our living rooms and it will be delivered.
McDonalds will be fine (notwithstanding other market forces and movements).
Because we will shout for a Big Mac.
If you’re a burger bar then customers just asking for burger to be delivered is likely to get them a burger from the chain that has paid Amazon (or whoever) most money.
See how that works?
You need to market YOU – by name (Big Mac) – and not the category within which you reside (burgers).
Or big chunks of your profit will go to some intermediary as you pay for a top spot in a category when you could have asserted your brand position by building a meaningful brand yourself.
Category Versus You.
I’ve worked in Business Communications for 20 years or so.
And as startling as it sounds, the vast majority of businesses I meet either:
1. Don’t market properly (or at all).
2. Spend money marketing everyone in their category.
Both are silly.
What I mean by Point 1 is just non-existent or crap communications.
What I mean by point 2. is, ‘Restaurant A’ does not know why its is authentically different or better so it just markets ‘going out for a great meal’.
Just like everyone in the category.
They all say similar things (atmosphere, service, food, choice, offers…) because they’re not clever enough (or their agency is not clever enough) to find and home-in on an ownable point of difference.
This is a problem if you are a business owner.
And it needs to be solved.
People that really understand brand do solve it.
But the new consideration now, and this really should be thought about is HOW people are going to order things.
Or communicate things.
And what this means to you.
Most specifically – consumer communication and buying will become increasingly verbal.
So, think about how people will talk about your brand.
In actual words.
Not just reputationally – but literally.
It matters more than ever.