People buy from people - brand development | DMA

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People buy from people - brand development



People buy from people. Quality takes a backseat, even if someone made the best headphones for a reasonable price, you wouldn’t buy them if the brand were seen to support views that oppose you would you? Every brand is a person; they have values, attitudes and a sense of self. And this is the key driver in a consumers purchase decision. But how can we affect how we are perceived? What can we do to affect our ‘person’?

We are people

Brands are people, represented by the staff they employ and messages they give out and ultimately defined by the company's culture. These drive how consumers interact with our brands, whether we can elicit positive emotions or we distance ourselves from them.

Much like people, brands have attitudes and beliefs instilled within them often driven by the company culture. For example, we as people believe in certain things and display these; Toms are the same. They are a company founded with the mission to help those in need, for every product you buy they send one to someone in need. This is an admirable trait and helps instil their personality into the brand, and give themselves a sense of person. And who doesn’t want to be mates with the guy changing the world? I sure do.

On the other side, many brands fail because they lack a unique selling point, and a bit of attitude. Like Toms weren’t the best quality, I remember going through a few pairs myself! But what kept us going back was the feeling of helping those in need. Where many brands who I can’t recall the name of, ultimately fail because of this, they fail to stick in the consumers' mind. An effective way to insert yourself into a thought process, is to stand out because of your views. Think about it, think back to school, who can you remember and why do you remember them? Because they stuck in your mind.

The quality of the product doesn’t matter, again personified by Toms, who originally created simple but effective daps for people to wear, while knowing they were helping someone who didn’t previously have any. They’ve used their sense of person, as their unique selling point and as their key marketing tool. This develops their personality and personifies them as an admirable person, much like Gandhi, who become revered and essentially successful.

Customer facing

To have a strategic plan and a culture envisaged is all good, but to effectively instil this into external stakeholders, the customer-facing staff play the key role.

The role of the customer-facing staff, such as support or sales staff, is integral in the development of an attractive ‘person’. These are the individuals who have direct contact with the outside world; they display the characteristics of the company. Here the consumers interact and gauge whether what they have previously learnt about the company is true, or just a façade, and essentially can either enhance or wipe out all marketing activity prior to this event.

Keeping these employees motivated and happy within their roles ensures that the outside world believe what you’re doing and that your ‘person’ is genuine, oh and let's not forget marketing. Marketing works as the instigator for all company-customer relations. It’s often the main driver in the first opinion, and as we all know the first opinion is the most important. In a job interview, if you mess up and say that you think Arsenal is a real title contender, you’ve lost all credibility. Marketing is this first impression.

These are the most important cogs in the wheel, how the consumer is treated.


After this, I want you to think about your own brand, and what you stand for. And once you have that established think about how to integrate this message into your marketing activity, as this is what the brand is trying to achieve. Everything should be tailored to achieving that one goal, for example, Google are trying to create a universal flow of all information, and I’d say they’re doing a pretty good job. Think about what you want to do within the world, then go out and smash it.


When assessing your brand strategy, knowing the ‘person’ you’re trying to develop is the centre of the wheel, everything else is just the spokes, everything must revolve around the centre.

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