Friday, July 09, 2010

Six Attributes of Premium Brands: How Many Does Your Station Have?

I really like Starbucks' coffee.

I seek it out (fortunately that's not usually difficult) and willingly pay more for it.
To me it's a unique coffee experience (especially the rich, earthy, smoky, intense and satisfying French Roast) that's well worth the reasonably higher price.

I like to share my Starbucks experiences with other Starbucks fans and in turn hear what they enjoy.

Even outside of the coffee, I like Starbucks as a company – their history, initiatives, new products and promotions.

Uniqueness, customer loyalty, higher price point, distribution, promotions and back story: these six attributes that make Starbucks a Premium Brand for me are in fact characteristics shared by most Premium Brands.

How many of these Premium Brand attributes does your station have?

Uniqueness – From packaging to process, Premium Brands have clear elements of differentiation. They also introduce unique new variations of their basic products. Remembering that nuance is lost on most listeners, what most clearly and positively sets you apart from competitors? How are you promoting/exploiting it? What new, unique features or listener-experiences have you launched recently?

Customer Loyalty and Evangelism – Premium Brand customers demonstrate their brand loyalty by sharing their stories about your brand and hearing similar stories from fellow Premium Brand customers. “Pull marketing,” word of mouth, and public endorsements/consumption are part of the core marketing strategy. Are you making it easy for listeners to spread the word about you and interact with you and others about what you’re going?

Higher Pricing – customers expect to pay a realistically higher price, but consumers of Premium Brands still need to feel that they are getting value and receiving a premium experience. The higher the commercial load, the stronger the entertainment value must be. But price is not limited to just commercials; consider costs like the monetary investment or extra steps necessary to listen to your product on other platforms. Is the end experience worth the cost?

Distribution: Speaking of platforms, Premium Brands are widely available. Is your station missing any distribution channels?

Promotion: Many Premium Brands support or dominate niche events (like Red Bull’s involvement in extreme or dangerous sports). Others engage in particularly creative promotions (like Mattel’s Barbie dressed in designer clothes and walking the runway during New York City’s Fashion Week). Starbucks is involved in multiple community and global initiatives. Are there promotional or philanthropic opportunities in your market that you could own that would enhance your station’s brand image among your target listeners?

Back story: To tell a brand’s true back story, some have produced “promotumentaries” for the brand’s website or TV (Patron tequila has done a great job with its back story). A Microsoft study found that “...helping consumers build up their knowledge about a product is what turns casual interest into a premium sale”. What’s your station’s story? Why did it come about? What was your original strategic mission? Is there a powerful story you can tell?

No comments: