Tribes

Do you have a brand or product you want to market to potential customers? New and old products alike must take into consideration how the masses think and transform that knowledge into actionable ideas. In todays world much has changed. The advent of the Internet has brought about massive advances in how people communicate. It has also changed how they see themselves and others. Many things however have stayed the same. One of those constants is our ingrained tribalistic nature. More and more the world is branching out and connecting technologically, yet the undercurrent of tribalistic sentiments has not been drowned in the sea of technology. In many places the desire of groups to self assert and separate has grown stronger and in many countries secession movements and bids for independence have grown in recent years. What does this have to do with you and your product? Everything.

More and more, people are going on-line and looking for their tribe. Present a tribal person with an idea from his political opposite and they will most likely reject the idea. Present the same idea, and tell them it came from their own political group, and like magic, it becomes a great idea! This is tribalistic thinking. It goes without saying then, that to market in todays world, you must understand how to build your own tribe and how to join others. To achieve these ends, there are two main strategies you can choose when marketing a vitamin or supplement. Product or Brand Marketing.

Product or Brand Marketing – When & Why

Marketing the Product

Marketing your product means that your placing the product identity (the name or logo of a specific product) above that of your brand (your companies logo) to various degrees. The goal of product marketing is to differentiate your product from the rest. To find a defensible position like “my product does X better than the rest” is considered a hallmark of product marketing.
The more specific the use or claims your product makes, the more focus is put on the expected results. A great example of this would be BSN. You don’t see them producing generic type items with generic type of names. They don’t have a creatine powder that is just called BSN Creatine. Each product prominently features the product name with the brand being smaller and in the background. The product names try to include verbiage that sound a lot like the effects the product’s users want it to have. This is a great way to make a claim about your products effects, without actually doing so. This is a good example of Product Marketing. If your looking to target a specific audience like sports or people with a specific condition, product marketing is the way to go!

Notice how the product name is BIGGER than the brand logo.

Finding your Products Tribe

 

 

When selling a supplement with many uses the job of determining the specific focus of your product can be a major undertaking. Lets just make up an example vitamin. Vitamin XYZ. Vitamin XYZ has been shown to possibly benefit patients with diabetes and cancer as well. Some studies also show great promise with Alzheimer’s disease. Your first inclination may be to market it as a “cover all the bases” type of product. This at first glance would seem to make a lot of sense. The problem is, it doesn’t really work as planned. If you marketed Vitamin XYZ to cancer patients and then in a separate campaign to Alzheimer patients, there will be parts from one group, who will now not identify with the product being for “them”. A great example of this is the city of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority ran a provocative ad campaign, “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” portraying Las Vegas as “an adult playground.” In the recession of 2008, however, convention attendance tanked. Concerned about its now out-of-step raunchy reputation, the city took out a full-page BusinessWeek ad to defend its ability to host serious business meetings. Once they defined themselves as a “sin city” type of place, they pushed away others who did not see themselves as visiting Las Vegas for those reasons. Similarly, when engaging in product marketing, you can’t try to be all things to all people. People want products made for their specific problems. People want things they perceive as being tailor made for their tribe! As a general rule, if your dealing with formulations, that is, combinations of substances combined for a specific synergistic effect, focusing on the product may be a better way to go. Focusing on the product means therefore, picking a specific use and sticking with it.

Product or Brand Marketing? – Marketing your Brand

As a general rule, the more generic the use of the product, the more focus is put on the company who makes it. A great example of this would be something like Carlson Vitamins. You see they have a great line of generic vitamins, and their branding is ubiquitous throughout all their products. You can also see that they don’t make Super XXX muscle mass gainer. They focus on marketing their brand because they sell general health type of items. You won’t see on their L-Arginine label “Heart Health, Vasodilator, Pre-Workout, Super Formula”. You will see their brand prominently featured. They don’t pick a Tribe or specific use, their brand is their tribe.

Notice How the logo occupies almost the same space as the Product name. Also no claims are made. The brand speaks for itself. A great example of Brand Marketing.

Brand marketing is realizing your goal to separate your customers, not your product. It has been likened to creating an island. A place that is hard to reach, but just as hard to leave. Once people identify as being part of your tribe or as being on your “island”, they will continue to buy other products on that virtual island. Brand Marketing involves selling your story as a company. It may involve being identified with a particular attribute like being environmentally friendly or just being higher quality. Developing a successful brand image as a company may take longer to develop than a more targeted and more specific product image.

Decide who you want to be

Every company is different and your goals need to reflect who you are and where you see your business going. What ever you decide to implement, be it product or brand marketing,