Grow Your Brand: Long-Term Brands
Welcome to our fourth and final foray into the world of Byron Sharpe, this week we explore Long-Term brands. We’ll seek to cover whether the Byron Sharpe philosophy applies here or if it has a tendency to oversimplify the process for certain products and, if so, what alternative strategies are available to brands that fall under this definition.
What defines a Long Term Brand?
A Long-Term Brand’s consumers will commit to a brand for the long haul. Unlike a Destination Brand where consumers tend to feel a connection with their brand or a Repertoire Brand where consumers buy a brand’s product as part of their repertoire of products, long-term shoppers (whether aware of it when they purchase or not) are committing themselves to a degree of brand allegiance. Long-Term Brands are those whose products are used over a long period of time, often requiring refills or external purchases. Think electric toothbrushes, Braun epilators, Gillette razors, AmbiPur air fresheners etc.
Long-terms brands must employ a largely separate strategic focus to the previously covered Repertoire. Often, Long-Term bands make their highest profit margin on the refills that go alongside the initial purchase. It therefore follows that while new users will help to grow the brand, a standalone focus on new consumers may not be the most profitable approach. A repeat purchase strategy with continuous reinforcement of the Memory Structures, is the only way to ensure that a brand remains front of mind.
Identifying the right consumers must be at the heart of any marketing strategy for Long-Term brands. On-point targeting that identifies consumers when they’re at the point of market entry or change, ensures brands are established as fundamental element of their Memory Structures, encouraging the formation of long-lasting habits. If handled correctly, these consumers will develop a genuine connection to the brand and see the product’s benefits for themselves, integrating the brand into their daily lives. On this, we’re totally aligned with Sharpe.
The real opportunity as we see it for marketers is in identifying how to harness the power of these consumers who, when activated, can go on to promote the product to those around them. Sharp stresses the importance of switching focus to ensure less loyal customers make more purchases but this discounts the impact that existing loyal consumers can make amongst their circle of friends. Such conversations will create thousands of additional touchpoints along the customer's journey to purchase, enabling the brand to connect with users on a massive scale forming vital and long-lasting Memory Structures.
By acquiring the knowledge of who shops their product long term, a brand can continually target their consumers to repurchase. The benefit to this is twofold; not only will these consumers re-purchase but they also offer an in-built targeting mechanic of their own. The most engaged consumers will already have an interest in the product category that a brand belongs to. These passionate consumers are considered experts in their particular field by their friends and networks who seek out their expertise when faced with their own purchasing decisions. By collaborating with these everyday influencers, brands can effectively push trusted recommendations about their brand and product at the right time and to the right person and thus trigger repeat purchases.
Habit forming is key but education also plays a vital role. For Long-Term brands it could be as much as three years between purchases so constant reinforcement and education around a brand’s efficacy message coupled with the incentive, where relevant, to purchase refills can drive long-term sustainable growth.
Long-Term Brands need Long-Term Customers
Habits formed by Memory Structures can and will certainly encourage consumers to make repeat purchases. Brands need to recruit new users in order to grow. On these issues, we are fully aligned with Sharp’s theory but we differ on the issue of loyalty. Perhaps the terms ‘loyalty’ should be reframed. We don’t believe that (many) consumers will fall in love with a brand and purchase repeatedly for their entire lives but we do believe that where a brand appeals directly to a customer’s values, these customers will experience a far deeper connection to the brand than they otherwise would. They’ll also be more likely to talk about these products and brands with others who share similar values. The key here is scale and it is possible to deliver this activity en masse. At trnd, we help brands grow by identifying, educating and then activating millions of households who love to work with brands, to help power their marketing. To learn more, get in touch.