Friday, May 21, 2010

We're Not for You

“We’re not for you.” These may be the most empowering words in your branding arsenal. Once they learn the phrase, our clients delight in saying it, over and over, just for the sound of it. It doesn’t make sense in this era of scarce resources that we might actually turn a prospect away by saying, “We’re not for you.” But it might be exactly the right thing for your brand to do.

Great brands have always been good at clearly defining their sweet spot customer. Once they know who the right customer is, they can develop a brand promise that motivates that customer, and then can deliver on the promise in ways that delight them. But the unexpected truth of customer targeting is that great brands are just as good at defining who they’re NOT for, and then letting those customers go to a competitor.

One of our favorite recent examples of this concept is the “Most Interesting Man” campaign from Dos Equis beer. Most women we know don’t get this campaign, but the men in our lives love it. And one line resonates with them more than any other: “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis.” In other words, “if you’re one of those beer-swilling frat boys who drink Bud Light from sunup to sundown, we’re not for you.” The brand manager for Dos Equis credits the Most Interesting Man for increasing the brand’s market share by 22% between 2008 and 2009. By turning away some prospective customers, the brand broke through the beer category noise and dramatically increased its appeal to the RIGHT customers.

Do you know who your brand is for? Give some thought to what defines your sweet spot customer. Where they live, how much money they make, what they value. Once you’ve come up with a few ideas, then think about who your customer ISN’T. It just might be that determining who is wrong for your brand is the most right thing you’ve ever done.