I recently purchased a pair of incomparable American pride to wear on my feet. As an additional bonus I got a pair of Red Wing boots. Red Wing boots did an incredible job selling me on American quality and pride then let me have some boots as a symbol of that pride. And Red Wing taught me something valuable as well: great companies don’t market products even thought a product is what the marketing is persuading you to buy. Great companies market intangibles that come with the purchase of their product. I think Charles Revson, founder of Revlon Cosmetics said it best: “Perfume is made in the factory, ‘hope’ is sold in the store”
Let’s examine another amazing company – Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Technically they sell motorcycles buy that is not what they market: Harley-Davidson markets an image and a mighty fine motorcycle but it’s the image you pay the big bucks for. Harley never has to compete with other motorcycle manufacturers because what Harley offers they can’t buy for all the money in the world – image. Check out their website and you’ll see a hyper-masculine, all-american ‘image’ plastered over every page and, almost as an aside, motorcycles too.
So what is your business really selling? What does your website or showroom say to potential customers? Is a product for sale or is a unique experience (or dream, feeling, image, whatever!) for sale? A motorcycle can be purchased at any dealership but the image is only available at Harley-Davidson. Combine a Harley-Davidson with a pair of Red Wings and you almost become Captain America overnight.
So pay attention to what you’re selling. Pay close attention to what your website, showroom, stationery, uniforms and advertising says about you. If you’re not careful you could wind up just being another company that sells motorcycles and boots.