Mangement deals in verbal abstractions.
Marketing deals in verbal hammers.
Right-brained marketing people know they need to use the narrowest possible term to describe a brand or category so they can develop an effective visual hammer. They know the spoken word will be instantly linked to a visual image. Simple and clear, it leads to power that wins.
EXAMPLE: Starbucks' Marketing Returns
A number of years ago, Starbucks hired a management guru to help it define its "big, hary, audacious goal." What came out was "To be one of the most well-known and respected organizations in the world known for nutruring and inspiring the human spirit." Fine for the United States of American, but to emplyees, this is just "management talk."
When entrepreneur Howard Schultz (first Starbucks' marketing hire) returned to take the reigns of a company that had gone astray, he immediately focused on "coffee." In an interview with USA Today he said "We'll spill out more coffee than most coffee shops sell. You won't be able to find a fresher cup of coffee on the planet."
Right-brained marketing people decide on a verbal while also considering what the visual might be.
That's the opportunity for a start-up. To own the new category. The start-up's name instantly associated with the new market category. The verbal (Google) triggers the visual (search).
- Nike + Swoosh logo = athletic shoe leader
- McDonalds + Arches = fast food leader
- Louis Vuitton + multiple-logo design = luxury handbag leader
- Rolex + unique watchband = luxury watch leader
It does not matter that Starbucks sells more than coffee. Or that Nike sells more than athletic shoes. Because their visuals are easy to visualize. Far easier than "human spirit" or "respected organization."
BOTTOM LINE: Serial entrepreneurs intuitively search for the visual the moment they start thinking about the name of the company or product or service. They understand the power of the visual hammer to drive into the mind a compelling visual. When you can do that for your start-up, you'll add winning power to your unfair advantage.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!
"Marketing is too complicated to be left to management people who have little experience in marketing and who don't understand its principles." wrote Al Ries.
Rated by Advertising Age as one of the Top Ten living legends of marketing, Ries's findings and related implications in the book "War in the Boardroom" are spot on with the marketing challenges that confront first-time entrepreneurs.
This series on startup marketing follows the principles laid down in that book. I highly recommend the book to startup leaders.