One of the biggest factors in a successful branding campaign, whether we are talking about edible oils and fats or other products for the market, is motivation. As a marketer of many years, I’m still amazed at how organisations can so easily get caught up in ‘big picture’ concepts and ‘small stuff’ details, such as budget and pricing, without remaining focused on motivation.

The essence of branding and marketing can be summed up in two questions:

  1. What can we do to motivate our target audience to at least be motivated enough to take a look at our product, service or idea?
  2. What can we do, once our target market has taken a look at our product, service or idea, to motivate them to ‘buy’ with a cash transaction or with measurable support?

It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on what marketing and branding is all about. I’d say motivation is a key issue. Why are people buying our product or idea? Of the people who aren’t buying, what can we do to make them want to buy?

These are super questions and, in my experience, they aren’t asked often enough. In any marketing or branding operation, it is all too easy to forget them and instead get caught up in the details of a project or become overwhelmed thinking about what your immediate boss might want to hear about.

Branding is often a complex business. One would like to have a simple rule, such as ‘be positive because people like positive messages’ or ‘be negative, as nothing motivates people as much as being scared’. Sometimes the positive message works best, and other times it is the negative. The reason is that humans are complex beings.

I’m going to talk about the negative because I’ve found it often gets overlooked. Now that we are in 2017, there are two special reasons:

  1. The UK Brexit vote: The British, very much against the prediction of then Prime Minister David Cameron, voted to get out of the EU.
  2. The US Presidential vote: This resulted in the installation of Donald Trump as the 45th President.

It is hard to overstate just how much both of these events were unexpected. Even in the last few days of the US Presidential election, the Democrats’ candidate Hilary Clinton was widely reported as having a “97%” probability of a win.

So what happened? The same as with Brexit vote – the people rebelled. Most of the UK media had talked about Britain remaining in the EU, and most of the political leaders wanted it that way. But the vote went in the opposite direction.


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