What Kind of Relationship do You Want to Establish with Your Customers?

The urge of Marketing Evolution: from the prices war to the differentiating value of each brand.

The book “Blue Ocean Strategy” Harvard Business School Press by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne was launched in 2005, a work that challenged the theories set until today relying on a new management paradigm that is essential in a world of “look-alikes”: the solution to face the competition is not to compete but to innovate with value. This innovation has to do with strategy and encompasses the entire structure of a company, guiding its entire system towards the qualitative achievement of value for customers and for itself. That’s a must-read book but the true secret relies on the implementation.

In general, the differences between the usual business strategy (UBS) and the Blue Ocean Strategy (BOE) consist on: while the former competes in the existing market space, the latter creates undisputed market space; in the face of competition, the objective is to win, whereas at BOE the objective is to make competition irrelevant; do more of the same within existing demand, when it is possible to Create and Conquer new demand; if the UBS is governed by the trade-off between value and cost, the BOE disrupts; The most important is that BOE aligns the entire system of the company’s activities in the seek for differentiation and low cost. The proposal is to challenge conventional thinking.

The same goes for Brand Storytelling: it is all about catalyzing the old truths of Marketing and Revolutionize the established paradigms. “There is only competition if there is duplication, if each Brand tells its story, there is no competition”, “Whoever tells the best story wins” as Edson Atayde says. Here the goal is valuing and enhancing brands: their DNA, their roots, the essence in which differentiation resides, evolve in the marketing and sales strategy: the focus is no longer on products/services but on customers/people, today’s Brands co-creators – we exist because of them and for them, to respond to their desires, problems and needs: to listen, establish dialogue, demonstrate that the brand is attentive and interested in those who choose it, involve, create solutions and sense of belonging.

Here we define the strategy that each company chooses for itself: will it be the price war or the brand’s differentiating value?

1st Level: Product/Service, Function, Information
At this level the link with the brand is weak or almost non-existent, the customer’s focus is only the practicality and the benefits associated with the product/service. In the purchase moment, the price is the decision factor. Strong competition, price war: sales, promotions, coupons.

2nd Level: Product/Service, Features, Perception
Although the connection to the brand is weak, there is a concern in the choice in view of their own needs and the characteristics that a given product/service has to offer and that only some brands can satisfy, giving them the perception that they are interested. There is some competition.

3rd Level: Brand Association
The connection to the brand becomes emotional because it not only satisfies the needs but also establishes an identification both with aspects that the customer values in his life (quality, efficiency, durability), as well as familiarity with the brand. Even if there are others, the customer will choose brand x because he already perceives its value and has good references for its use, but if it fails, he will change the choice for the brand quickly.

4th Level: Identification with the Brand: Brand Lovers
The strongest level of relationship: identification, involvement and alignment with values and principles, such as the world view, way of living and contribution to a better society. “Brand Lovers” – when the brand matches their lifestyle, becoming timeless. Here, there is no competition, only Value.

Each of these levels defines what kind of relationship exists between brands and people, from the 1st level: as if you were an acquaintance among countless people, up to the 4th level, our best friend for whom we are always present.

Hotel brands in general only communicate product/service and price, which only establishes a functional, practical and opportunistic connection; There are an increase of good examples of those who are committed to communicating their Brand Story, which generates involvement, differentiation, value and even identification of Self.

They all start with the first level, but only a few progresses to the maximum. The conscious and open reflection of managers is crucial for new solutions and, consequently achieving new results. Choose the greatest potential of achievement.

Ana Cristina Guilherme
Hospitality Wellness Brandologist 
ABC Sustainable Luxury Hospitality
Proud Ambassadors Global Wellness Institute

Branding & Marketing | Key Traits: Creativity, Vision, Passion

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