Luxury Brand Strategies: Brand Your Product or Generate Sales?

Posted by in Search Marketing (SEO) on December 11th, 2007 1 Comment

What do you do to market a luxury brand or product? This is a question which has raised many eyebrows over the years, as branding and increasing sales do not always go hand in hand. So which one do you want to go for?

 Luxury Brand Strategies: Brand Your Product or Generate Sales?

Must be a very classy place… via flickr

Branding is an exercise where valuing the marketing and advertising activity that is being carried out is almost imposible due to the lack of feedback: You are sending information out to the public, and telling them (subtly or not) what your brand is about. They do not really have a choice about it, they have to accept your brand as it comes.

We all have to brand !

Traditional advertising like FMCG, (most) tv ads, sales promotion, and most disciplines of marketing actually, have to fulfil this branding function as well of course, but its secondary goal is to increase sales, generate leads, and increase the brand’s value whether in the minds or in the bankroll.

Remember the Blendtec iPhone ad? Well no one is every going to buy a Blendtec specifically to liquify an apple product (apart maybe for Bill Gates), but the advertising works to remind users that Blendtec are the strongest blenders in the world… and if you have seen the ad and need a blender, you know where to go!

Is it the right medium?

In the world of Pay Per Click and Paid Search Marketing, these two objectives can clash and their goals could conflict if you do not strike a realistic balance between branding and monetization. PPC is a medium where sales can perform extremely well because you know what state of mind users are in and what they want right now, but having your ad appear top for best diamond ring is not necessarily the best way to increase awareness; you might actually loose money if that is your only strategy.

For my part, I know that the best paid search campaigns are the ones that reach the searcher when he wants your product/information/service, which is achieved through intelligent keyword research, but having your ad displayed in front of him not necessarily going to make him click, even if he’s in your target market demographics. Probability is, he won’t even look. And that is why I love Pay Per Click and ttracting eyeballs: The ‘Google triangle’ (which attracts the searcher’s eye from the top results) is something you have to play with (or against?) when designing your ads. If you cannot attract a pair of eyeballs, then how are you going to be sure you will get enough conversions (sales leads) to get a good ROI?

You cannot expect your searcher, who will have been through his research process, to carefully scan the 10 natural results and the 8-13 Ads on the Google Search result page and finally stop and think ‘hmm this brand suits me and appeals to my lifestyle, I will go for this one instead’, because they won’t. You have to attract them when you know they want your product, but also just before that.

Techniques to attract searcher’s Eyes: 

Here are a few basic techniques which can be used to attract the user’s eye away from the Google triangle:

Dynamic Keyword Insertion: usually in the title, but can be used anywhere in the ad. It will make the user’s search query appear in your ad:
Type {KeyWord:x y z} in the ad text field. x y z = which ever text you want, if the search query is too long, it will automatically default to x y z.

Basic Keyword insertion: Probably the most important ad optimisation tool, if the searcher’s keyword is not in your ad text, you stand little chance of performing well. How do you know what keyword the user is going to enter? Look at your keywords, the best way to anticipate search terms and created good precise ads is to have small, targeted ad groups.

Display URL: You can use the display URL as an extra selling point. Google only requires this URL too look valid. It doesn’t matter if it actually doesnt work (www.google.com could be gooogle.com, google.com/search or www.google.com/Yahoo if you really want). Therefore if your wedding ring shop sells 24 carats, your display URL could show www.BlingBling.com/diamonds (but whatever you do, please do not call a wedding ring shop blingbling…). And obviously, if the user searched for diamond, then this word will come up bold in the display URL as well.

I have heard a lot about using Pay Per Click for branding at SMX London this year, and I believe it works if you have brand a term that you only can bid on (like ‘ coca cola ‘) or if you are sure you will keep the top spot no matter what for a high volume search term, but otherwise, too much branding can reduce your PPC campaign’s performance by not allowing you to attract the user’s eye.

However, I would be very interested to hear from you about campaigns you have managed which required you to brand luxury products whilst selling a lot of them at the same time!

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