Are brand and product messages in conflict?
In the technology space, in-house teams are facing challenges balancing product public relations with the desire to showcase their company’s value, mission and purpose, according to a new study.
Allison+Partners commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 technology marketing and communications decision makers across the U.S., Germany, UK, Singapore and China to explore the question: “When it comes to storytelling, which comes first…the brand or the product?”
The study found:
- Seventy-seven percent believe in the power of authentic, brand-first storytelling to showcase a company’s value, purpose and mission.
- Seventy-two percent feel their customers make more purchasing decisions based on the strength of the overall brand than they did three years ago.
- Eighty-eight percent believe their C-suite understands the value of an authentic brand.
Yet, according to the research, only 58 percent believe their company truly prioritizes brand-focused campaigns. One out of four admit to the sales initiatives pushing a product-only approach to influence customers.
The study concluded that that traditional “hyperfocused comms around speeds, feeds and services are waning,” but urged balance because a brand-only emphasis also holds risks. Allison+Partners wrote, “An either/or approach to brand vs. product will only lead to frustration and misalignment.”
Brands across industries are believed to be receiving greater allegiance from consumers, particularly younger ones, for embracing a higher, more noble aspiration than just pushing products and services.
IBM and the National Retail Federation’s just-released second global consumer retail study found purpose-driven consumers, who choose products/brands based on values like sustainability, are now the largest segment of consumers (44 percent).
The internet is full of advice on the long-term benefits of brand marketing to reputations, the near-term benefit of product marketing in calls to action, and advice on how to balance both.
In a recent 2022 trends article for Adweek, Will Stacy, chief marketing and digital officer for GM Financial, the captive financial arm of General Motors, said, “We have to get away from this idea that marketing is just logos, slogans and ads versus the reality that marketing now involves a lot of product marketing. We have to think as product marketers just as much as we think of ourselves as marketers selling a brand.”
- The Brand vs. Product Paradox: New Research from Allison+Partners Shows that In-House Tech PR Pros Struggle with Storytelling Priorities (press release) – Allison+Partners/Business Wire
- Technology PR’s Tug of War: The Battle of Brand vs. Product (study) – Allison+Partners
- Brand vs. Product Marketing: The Benefits of Both – American Express
- The Top Marketing Trends to Adopt and Drop in 2022 – Adweek
- Foot Locker’s ‘CMO+’: “Take Brand Marketing Off Your Resume” – Mediapost
- Five Ways AI Improves Brand Marketing ROI – Forbes
- Brand marketing effectiveness study – Deloitte
- The Great Brand Identity Crisis: Coming in 2022 – Adweek
- How Brands and Retailers Can Collaborate to Activate Sustainability, Drive Growth – Sustainable Brands
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Have you been seeing heightened conflicts between brand marketing and product marketing, and what advice do you have for marketers? How does the imperative for purpose-driven positioning play into marketing decisions?