Stay the night following a first date and statistics show that you’ll likely not make it to the altar, and this is also true of the relationship between customer and seller – between fresh produce buyer and producer, when a business chooses the quick fix of focusing on sales strategy over brand strategy.
While a brand strategy is about value and a long-term solution, a sales strategy is about creating a heady rush of sales, not looking much further than the next promotional campaign.
Take the perfect example of Lidl’s fresh produce branding strategy, which has transformed the public’s perception of the quality of its products, compared to a super speedy sales push of a singular line at your local wholesaler (the latter of which may introduce you to a product, but what’s to keep you coming back or ensure you cross-buy?)
Sales strategies talk of market positioning for today, while a brand strategy hones in on consumer needs, emotions and competitive environments for tomorrow and for the far-off future – ultimately connecting better with a target market on a deeper level by building a relationship, rather than simply communicating how a product or service could solve their current worries or needs right now.
A branding strategy reinforces your place in the market – it sets Lidl apart as a reasonably priced, high-quality provider of fresh produce. It places Clarence Court eggs on a pedestal – superior quality eggs made possible by superior living conditions. Branding strategy even made a successful move from smoothies to veg pots possible (who can fail to connect with Innocent’s pure, wholeheartedly ‘good’ image?)
Your brand strategy needs to drive home your brand personality, promise, positioning, statement and story – all in a sustainable, repetitive, positive customer experience.
Ultimately, if you wish to make it to the altar with your customers, rather than have that single sales fling, you need to earn your target market’s trust and desire. Strike those two right, and you could well be the stuff of marketing marriage material.