Want More Brand Loyalty? Narrow it Down.

White Beach at Boracay

What beer comes to mind?

Imagine yourself sitting in a lounge chair on a white-sand beach. The sound of relaxed laughter and merriment comes from behind you. It’s hot but you’re kept cool by a mellow breeze and the cold, light refreshing beer you’re drinking. What beer comes to mind? Was it Corona?

Brand Focus vs. Broad Brands

According to a recent study, brands like Corona that define their brand with narrow associations do better than brands that try to be too many things to too many people.

Lars Erling Olsen conducted a series of experiments to test narrow vs. broad branding strategies at BI Norwegian Business School. He found that the more narrow the associations around a brand, the greater the recall, and the stronger the intent to purchase became. Additionally, Lars found that narrowly associated brands prompted greater brand loyalty and the more likely it was for the subjects to reject “new” brands introduced. Finally, narrow brands fared better when introducing an expanded product line. What Olsen calls, “success in both defense and growth scenarios”.

Specificity and Consistency Wins the Race

As you build your business, personal, or organization brand, resist the urge to be “more”. The fear to “miss out” on opportunities can drive branding in the wrong direction, leading to a diluted message and a forgettable brand that forges weak loyalty bonds at best. Stay focused, stay consistent, and build your brand  on a strong, but narrow pillar of associations

  • Paulbogush

    Schools have the same problem…we try to teach everything, be everything, and in doing so, end up being a wide, shallow institution.

  • http://twitter.com/Verilliance Verilliance

    Interesting, yes. What do you think a better solution would be?

  • Paulbogush

    Something that would fit on a bumper sticker. There is a homemade hokey sign hanging up in my room that is guiding us through the current unit we are doing–it says:
    Chin up.
    Be fierce.

    Kids can grab onto that. They can translate that into their work. They can be fierce in their research, their creativity. They can have their chin up and be confident…or at least brave and courageous during the presentation. Telling them that that the goal of the lesson is to make a self-to-world connection and determine the causes of farm girl migration to the cities is like trying to market Corona as the beer to drink when there is good weather. They make no connection, take no ownership. Somehow instead of telling them all the components their writing should have, telling them all the historical info they should have…somehow they get it all in just knowing that this assignment will “be fierce.”

    After this assignment they will “be fierce,” and the next unit might focus on being “colorful.” Two different things (brands), but easier to “expand the product” line of student skills when we only focus on one thing at a time. Hmmm…think I would need more time, or something bigger than a comment box to flesh out my ideas…maybe in my next blog post.

  • http://twitter.com/Verilliance Verilliance

    I’d love to see that blog post. Send me a link when it’s up. But indeed, though I work with “marketing” in the business sense, I see marketing as a broad term that applies to many things. We market ourselves, we market to our students in an effort to get them engaged, non-profits need to reach their audience, and so on.

    I love your thinking.

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    It is a good way because if you do too much, people can really not know what is your best and tend to think your product is not very wonderful.

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