Do Your Brand’s “Style Points” Matter in a Down Economy?


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In college football, Style Points – hypothetical points awarded to a team when their performance against a difficult opponent is exceptionally cool – are needed to succeed in the Bowl Champion Series. When wins and losses can’t decide where teams should be ranked, style points are needed to break ties. Style points matter in college football this year and may very well determine the national title.

When the economy sours do brand style point’s help break the tie? Recent headlines in the Wall Street Journal (“At the Supermarket Checkout, Frugality Trumps Brand Loyalty”) suggest that price alone now rules. In fact, the article stated that “Many Americans are changing their everyday purchases and abandoning brand loyalty, prompted by the persistent financial pressure of rising food, gasoline and electricity prices.” The article also stated that “upper-income people are changing their patterns the same way that lower-income people are.”

I find this very interesting because on November 1st Jim Stengel, the outgoing CMO at P&G started a new venture based on “purpose-based marketing” (see WSJ article: “Veteran Marketer Promotes a New Kind of Selling”). According to Mr. Stengel, purpose-based marketing “is about defining what a company does – beyond making money – and how it can make its customers’ lives better.” The article stated that “Some ad experts believe Mr. Stengel’s approach is a little too touchy-feely for these tough times, when consumers are more interested in buying cheaper brands because of economic downturn.” However; the article also presented viewpoints supporting the fact that “consumers want brands that have purpose beyond materialism.”

What do you think? Is it possible to communicate value (price) and still build emotional equity at the same time? Do you see purposed-based marketing reflected in the customer experience?

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


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