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Marketing Matters: Creating A Successful Brand in Challenging Times

By: Donna Barson
Posted: December 10, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

With the high failure rate of new brands in practically every industry, many brand owners are looking for a “magic formula.”

There’s no magic, but successful brands do share several of the following important traits:

  • Product: It all starts with a unique product that carefully defines its niche and its place in the market.
  • Research: There is a careful examination of the niche the brand fills, including listening to consumers and looking at other industries for developing trends.
  • Personality: Successful new products have brand personality ... that is, the products in the brand stand for something—whether it is organics, the melding of beauty and fashion, philanthropy, etc.
  • Targeting: Precisely defining the target audience for the product and brand is vital. It’s like a dog chasing its tail otherwise—it never catches it but uses a lot of time and energy trying.
  • Integration: A function of marketing, all messages are integrated into one strong communication tool.
  • Connection: Successful products and brands have an emotional connection with their customers—created in part through product packaging, Web site, advertising and promotional materials.
  • Consistency: Successful brands are consistent in the messages they send to consumers, and they don’t waiver from the mission of the brand.
  • Distribution: Successful brands help their retail partners grow, and are willing to examine alternative distribution and marketing strategies.

Case in Point

ThermaFuse, a rising hair care and styling brand, is a good example of the previously listed traits. At a time when there is much blurring of mass and salon hair care brands, ThermaFuse’s 2006 launch succeeded by carefully cultivating a niche.

Unlike other hair care brands, the formula used in ThermaFuse products was developed to protect and repair hair with the use of any heat styling tool. This unique niche allowed the brand to develop a successful promotional and marketing campaign based on the premise of “healthier hair with heat.”

Van Stamey, founder and CEO of ThermaFuse, comes from a family of salon industry impresarios. He knew that millions of consumers relied on blowers, flat irons and heat curlers for their styling needs, and these products were damaging their hair. So he worked with chemists to develop a brand of products carefully targeted towards heat style devotees who would benefit from products that both safeguarded hair from heat and actually revived hair health.