Branding: the Mental Drawer

Published: Monday, May 28 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Whatever happened to Ipana toothpaste and its mascot "Bucky Beaver"? When was the last time you bought Gleem? Historically, the products in this industry were about cleaning teeth, not fewer cavities. Crest was the first-to-market toothpaste with a simple new additive called fluoride. When the company marketers told mothers their kids would have fewer cavities, Crest gave families a simple drawer in which to store their brand shortcut: "Mothers trust Crest to protect kids." Drawer: Mothers. Folder: Kids. Tab: Protection. Did it work? Absolutely. Today this well-known consumer brand continues to hold the top spot in the minds of American shoppers.

Is a brand drawer about features? Yes. Is it about benefits? Definitely. Great brands combine these compelling features and benefits into neat, tight and succinct summaries that buyers will know, feel and trust. The goal of business leaders is to firmly place in the minds of consumers that their products are the very best choices compared to all other options. This takes place over time as customers become aware, try and enjoy the overall product experience.

In the world of investing, I see savvy entrepreneurs who understand and know how to create and establish a profound connection between their products and the needs of consumers. It's a technique that brings long-term success to business leaders who focus on their customers and how they think.

In my next article, I will discuss brands that build bridges to their customers.

Any questions? Please send your requests to me at www.AlanEHall.com or connect to me at @AskAlanEHall.

Alan E. Hall is a co-founding managing director of Mercato Partners, a regionally focused growth capital investment firm. He founded Grow Utah Ventures, is the founder of MarketStar Corp. and is chairman of Utah Technology Council.

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