Identity and relationships: two sides of the same coin
How the go‑to‑market strategy influences brand perception
What does constructing a brand identity mean? Form a personality for the brand through a visual and iconographic language, effective communication, or even the design of every single touchpoint: these are all elements which determine the perception and reputation of the brand from the point of view of its public. A perception which is not only rational but also profoundly emotive and instinctive, on which the approval and the consequent success of the brand depends.
The visual image is, however, not the only answer.
How can I get my brand onto the market? How can I reach my consumers? Through which channels and actions? Through what forms is the brand perceived by its consumers? How can we reach the heads (and hearts) of users? The go-to-market strategy is the answer. Answering these questions means planning a strategy aimed at constructing a relationship with our clients. According to the combination of factors chosen for implementation, brand perception by users varies considerably and, consequently, the brand identity is also affected.
Brand identity is therefore not (only) the result of its visual image but also of the combination of all channels and actions which are carried out by the brand in order to construct a relationship with its clients.
The various combinations create differing brand perceptions and, consequently, this significantly influences the brand identity.
The German company entered the Italian market as far back as 1938 with a new sales technique, the door-to-door model, a technique which is still in widespread use for a number of product types. The main value that the brand wanted to project to the consumer was (and is) loyalty. The brand uses the strength of the relationship economy, based on authentic human relationships, which generate a positive feeling of trust in consumers, in order to position and differentiate its products on the competitive scene. The product that it sells costs more than those of its competitors, and it is often difficult to understand all its functions or use all of its modes. A demonstration at home, accompanied step by step by interaction with the sales representative, is fundamental in order to convince and impress the target. Consequentially, this generates a bond of trust with the seller and the brand it represents.
The same door-to-door sales strategy is applied by the multinational company Nestlé in the main Brazilian cities, which uses a network of micro-distributors and individual sales representatives who, with a cart, manage to reach the most inaccessible areas of the city. By using this strategy, the brand has managed to provide employment for a large number of women from the poorest areas, and to sell its products in difficult-to-reach or completely inaccessible areas. Furthermore, by selling food at low prices, the brand has been well-received by the population, creating a feeling of trust and reciprocal support. A brand which is “close” to you, not only via that which it communicates, but also in the way it reaches you wherever you are.
One of the currently most fashionable and talked-about strategies is that of the “drop”. Supreme applies this sales model by releasing new products every Thursday morning in its online store and its five physical stores world-wide. This strategy has generated an unprecedented level of physical and virtual traffic, approximately 1 billion views in one drop in 2016, increasing the traffic on its website by 16,800% and creating queues in front of the stores days before. This strategy, accompanied by a communication campaign which transmits the same values of exclusivity, has permitted the brand to achieve this elite, inaccessible and extremely fascinating image.
The experience of the three case studies shows how the go-to-market strategy, the choice of channels used to reach one’s clients, the method of interaction with them, the frequency of the relationship and the key actions carried out by the brand, are an integral part of the very identity of the brand. Being a loyal brand comes through the human and profound relationship with those who sell the product (in the case of Folletto); brands which respond to daily needs are those which reach you wherever you are (Nestlé); and lastly, being exclusive is not only a question of gold and sequins, but of intelligent sales strategies (Supreme).
The way I contact and address my clients is the very heart of my brand identity.
Strategic Design Lead