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Why Marketing Needs To Promote The Product, Not The Promise
By: Forbes
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For two decades now, aspiration has been the watchword of branding. Sell people the story of who they want to be, the logic goes, and the brand wins an unmovable place in their hearts. At one time, many brand campaigns truly struck a chord as they resonated with consumers on an emotional level. We’ve reached a point, though, where many consumers can’t identify the product in an ad, and often can’t place themselves in the idealized aspiration being dramatized. Wrought with overblown promises and fantasy claims, these brands have left consumers apathetic. They live in the real world where you can’t buy happiness, so please, stop trying to sell it them.

Younger consumers, in particular, want to know what you’re actually selling, not how it’s supposed to make them feel. They value what’s real and pride themselves on seeing through marketing claims, so they look for emotional stories that are anchored in a product truth. They’ll trust you when you talk straight, have a sense of proportion, and deliver what you promise. This down-to-earth approach is a driving factor behind the continued rise of Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Uniqlo’s offering is simple – low-cost, high quality basics, all delivered with unmatchable customer service. With a focus on fabric over fashion, the brand is able to keep costs low while investing in product innovation. Each product in the store has a diagram of how it was made and an explanation of the materials used to underscore the quality and provide transparency. Advertising is clean and simple, stressing a technically superior garment at a reasonable price rather than pushing an aspirational ideal. All these elements together create a brand that has stripped away all the bells and whistles to offer something real and relevant.

Uniqlo’s offering is simple – low-cost, high quality basics, all delivered with unmatchable customer service. With a focus on fabric over fashion, the brand is able to keep costs low while investing in product innovation. Each product in the store has a diagram of how it was made and an explanation of the materials used to underscore the quality and provide transparency. Advertising is clean and simple, stressing a technically superior garment at a reasonable price rather than pushing an aspirational ideal. All these elements together create a brand that has stripped away all the bells and whistles to offer something real and relevant.

From a purely anecdotal standpoint, the first winter that Uniqlo launched in Brooklyn it seemed every third person walking down the street was wearing a Uniqlo down jacket. And ever since, the signature garment of the season has become a neighborhood staple. From Brooklyn and beyond, Uniqlo continues to grow impressively; parent Fast Retailing posted a 48% rise in pre-tax profit last year.

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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. You'll find a link to the original after the post. www.forbes.com
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