Brand Marketing is All about Choices


Brand marketing can be done through everything from pricing and distribution to customer-loyalty programs and endorsements. Here are just a few ways to consider:

  1. Brand marketing through various channels. Brand marketing can be done through: the Internet, TV, word-of-mouth, radio, print, signage and/or worthy-cause marketing. Advertising through print and broadcast media is the traditional way. And it works – eventually. The downside is that it can get very expensive. Internet marketing can very effectively pull in customers who are specifically searching for your product.
  1. Brand marketing through pricing. You can enter the market at a low price, get everyone’s attention, blow past your competition and gain a substantial market share, then raise your price. Some large retailers have done this, much to the chagrin of many small businesses.
  1. Brand marketing via category management. Unless you sell your product exclusively on the internet and deliver via download or commercial shippers, you have to understand and respect conventional category management. Category management is the means by which large retailers identify, inventory, and merchandise groups of like products. For example, publishers print codes on books that tell bookstores the topic of the book, indicating where it should be shelved. You might decide, however, that Madonna’s children’s book is going to sell better in the children’s books section than in celebrity books.
  1. Brand marketing through customer loyalty programs. Customer loyalty can be a very effective brand marketing tool. For example, club cards (such as those offered by Safeway and Office Depot) and frequent flyer programs compel customers to use one brand or company exclusively in exchange for special discounts or privileges.
  1. Brand marketing through third-party endorsements. When a movie star carries your brand of handbag or wears your watch, or Catherine Zeta Jones is a spokesperson for your phone company, many people notice. Pennzoil decided it would do their brand marketing through auto racing. Consumers can’t buy Pennzoil right there in the stands, however, so when you consider endorsements of this kind, think in terms of what’s called impressions. The more impressions you make on your potential customers, the more likely they are to buy your product.
  1. Brand marketing via planned obsolescence. Camera, computer and cell phone companies are using planned obsolescence when they convince the general public that every year they need the newest model to keep up with the latest style or technology. In the current economy, however, this can be a negative association for a brand. Consumers are not into buying style right now as much as utility.

Brand marketing is all about getting your brand in front of your buyers. There are obviously many ways this can be accomplished. Decide which approaches best suit your product or service, and get started now!

Of course, there’s much more that could be said on this subject. What’s been your experience? Michael Houlihan, co-founder of Barefoot Wine, the largest selling wine brand in the nation, invites you to join the discussion on Brand Marketing with your comments, thoughts, and opinions below.

Who Are We.

Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.

Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.

We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders