(Baltimore, Maryland) Marketers with the strongest brands will be the ones to survive the expected cleaning house in the natural products industry according to one brand builder speaking at the recent SupplySide East International Trade Show and Conference.
“There is a growing feeling in the industry that the increased regulatory pressure and consumer focus on dietary supplements is going to shake things up,” said Mark True, creative director and self-proclaimed brand warrior for REL Productions (Des Moines, Iowa) during a presentation at SupplySide East. “The companies that survive are the ones who have created a brand that is relevant to the consumer, who have invested the money and effort necessary to manage that brand and who have been disciplined enough to defend that brand.”
True defined brand as the reputation that an organization earns every time someone comes in contact with the company’s products or services, including its advertising, customer service contact, packaging, etc. He said brand extends beyond logos, advertisements and slogans, highlighting a number of strong consumer brands including Southwest Airlines and Starbucks. He ended the presentation by challenging attendees to become brand zealots at their own companies.
“Brand management is not just a marketing function,” said True. “It’s the responsibility of everyone in an organization. The key is having someone within that organization who will rally the troops and then stand up and be counted when the brand is threatened by others inside or outside of the company.”
Those threats include: short-term opportunities that aren’t the organization’s core capabilities; operating standards that don’t represent the company’s history; and individual employee’s work style that doesn’t fit the established culture and brand.
“Each of these brand disconnects can confuse the consumer and encourage them to look elsewhere for products and services they can count on,” says True.
His presentation also included a model organizations can use to document and communicate its brand internally, and a number of questions employees should ask themselves to ensure their brand is working for them and not against them.
SupplySide East was held May 6-8 at the Baltimore Convention Center.
REL Productions was founded in 1993, and builds strong brands using core 21st century communication tools including video production, web application design and interactive presentations. REL also offers graphic design, print production, public and media relations support and advertising program development.