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5 Steps to Selling Brands

These words are coming from someone who has been in the advertising world, shaping and reshaping brands for 25 years.

“You can dream of having a very successful brand. But as easy as it is to dream, it is difficult to make your dream a reality.”

I started my career in 1994 as a writer in an advertising agency. I had no formal training for copywriting. But I enjoyed writing and I saw myself earning my bread through words with maybe some butter and jam.

 

WRITE STORIES

My first boss and the owner of the company was a writer himself. He trained me personally and made me unlearn the ‘essay type’ writing that has been drummed into me since school.

“Write stories, and if there are no real stories to be written, create fictional ones. Humans are interested in humans and not something abstract.”

That was my first lesson learnt. Always put a human angle to your brand, your products and your services. Make it emotive, humanize your brand and let people relate to what you offer. Don’t tell them what to do -- show them how it will work in their favour if they choose you (in a subtle way of course).

I have carried forward this lesson throughout my life even though I left that company 20 years ago. Presently, I am the proprietor of my own creative agency and even today while I train freshers, this is the first lesson I pass on to them.

 

AVOID COPYING

“A copy is a copy of a copy.” a very famous dialogue from one of my favourite films of all times ‘Fight Club’. I remember whenever I received a brief, the first thing I did was to go through the magazines and print ads of other agencies in search of ‘inspiration’. Nowadays it’s the internet. You type something on Google and you are spoilt for choices. It is simply far too easy to get lazy.

Unfortunately, you are wrong if you think that your customers (and competitors!) don’t spend time on the web. They do, and when you publish a new creative, it doesn’t take long for it to be dissected and passed around with a ‘Copy Alert’.

So, do not copy. Difficult as it is to come up with brilliant and creative ideas, it is also very important for all the budding visualizers and writers to know, that copying or ‘taking inspiration’ is short term gain for long term pain.

 

BUILD A TEAM

A team with like-minded (or not) people who enjoy what they do is not very difficult to find in today’s world. Put up an ad on LinkedIn and your inbox will be flooded with messages within an hour or so.

Gain their trust and let them trust you. Remember, if there is a gap between the employer and the employee, then that it will show up when you go for a meeting with the client. As crucial it is for you people as a team to win the client’s trust, it is equally essential to trust one another. After all, it is the foundation of any relationship!

 

CHOOSE A TARGET

You are almost set. You have skilled people who are passionate about what they do and there is a mutual understanding between them. They have original ideas and your creatives come out pretty well. But who are these creatives for? What do they want? What motivates them? How do you reach out and touch them?

The way you talk to a family would be (or at least should be) rather different than the way you talk to twenty-somethings. If you are clear about who you are talking to you’ll better understand how to draw them in. Clearly and precisely identifying your target audience makes it easier to work out what to say and how to say it.

 

BE DIFFERENT

Okay, maybe you’ve got an awesome product or the service you sell is wonderful.  Everyone who has used it loves it. The trouble is not enough people have used it yet and now you have to persuade a wider market.

The key is to be different. If there’s something unique about your brand, something which your competitors don’t possess, play it up even if it seems small.  If there is no clear and objective difference try to create a subjective one by associating your brand with an emotion.  If you cannot break through the clutter, your virtues add up to nothing. Whether you are a creative person, agency head and brand owner, remember that being different is critical.