Sometimes being a "good enough" brand is good enough
The job of any good marketer is figuring out what people want and what drives people to make the choices they make. OR what's the one thing people want to avoid doing at all cost.
Because people don’t really buy products.
People buy peace of mind, time savers OR...sometimes they just want the “good enough” option.
Usain Bolt retired in 2017. But the Jamaican sprinter is still considered the fastest man alive.
In 2008, after arriving at the pre-Olympic training camp in Beijing, Bolt tried a local Chinese meal. But his body reacted in a weird way.
So when the 2008 Beijing Olympics started Bolt decided to rely on simple heuristics.
Bolt made up his mind that he'd eat nothing but McDonald’s chicken McNuggets during the Olympic Games.
So that's all he ate. Chicken McNuggets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In fact, after winning 3 Gold medals... And after breaking records in the 100m (9.69s), 200m (19.30s) and 4 × 100 relay (37.10s) finals Bolt confessed that he ate 1,000 chicken McNuggets during the Olympic Games.
That's 100 McNuggets per day over 10 days.
Bolt only ate McNuggets, not because McDonald’s food is spectacular but because it's reliable.
Bolt knew that McDonald’s food is always consistent, predictable and safe to eat – no matter where you are in the World.
Sure, this wasn't exactly the healthy diet you'd expect an Olympic Athlete to follow.
But under the circumstances it was the safe diet to follow.
Because chicken McNuggets gave Bolt all the proteins he needed before racing. And more importantly…they'd never make him sick.
Sometimes being the "good enough" choice is good enough to build a profitable brand.
Takeaways for your business
1. In most buying situations people often select a brand that is "good enough", rather than perfect.
Takeaway food for example. You could order something more exotic like Thai or Mozambican food... OR you could simply order pizza – it's everyone's second or third favorite food, and that means pizza is always a safe and familiar choice. So in most situations, people will probably pick pizza.
Domino's gets this.
2. As ad legend Rory Sutherland says, "we can't really understand brands without understanding satisficing".
“Satisficing" is a term coined by cognitive psychologist Herbert Simon.
There are two types of consumers: Maximizers and Satisficers.
Maximizers are people who always look for the best option available. And they research a lot so they can make informed, intelligent choices.
Satisficers are folks satisfied with the first choice that meets their needs. The Usain Bolt story I just told you is a bizarre yet good brand purchase example of a Satisficer consumer (Bolt) picking a Satisficer brand (McDonald’s).
Understanding which group you are targeting can help you improve your messaging and market your brand in more profitable ways.
3. Marketers tend to focus a lot on building brands for 'Maximizers', but they should focus more on 'Satisficers'. Because maximizing brand purchases tend to be quite rare.
Maximizing brands tend to perform really well (if marketed well) in rare, special buying occasions. Like planning a wedding. Or choosing the perrrrrrfect honeymoon destination. Or buying a memorable gift for your Mom's 70th birthday.
But consumers have to make 35,000 small choices every single day.
That's why most of the times people just end making fast, intuitive, 'system one' decisions.
That's also why consumers are more often satisficers rather than maximizers. Because satisficing is a mental shortcut for many of the less important buying decisions we all have to make every single day.
Like What beer brand should I buy for dinner? OR What detergent should I buy? OR What toothpaste should I buy?
Because consumers don't have the time to overanalyze and read clinical studies to figure out what tube of toothpaste they should put in their shopping basket. They just want the "good enough" option.
So your job is to figure out how to make your brand be seen and remembered as THE “good enough” option in more buying situations.
4. To get seen and remembered by consumers in more buying situations brands have to do two things. Two things that make brands more easy to be liked, memorized and remembered:
Spend as much money as they possibly can on advertising, consistently.
Focus on creating and consistently maintaining memorable and distinctive brand assets.
And by brand assets I mean things like:
brand names (Example: wine brand Fat Bastard),
colors (Example: Think of Tiffany’s famous blue box),
packaging (Example: Toblerone’s iconic packaging shape is based off the Swiss Alps),
logos (Example: Apple),
distinct copywriting (Example: Innocent Drinks uses witty copy everywhere and consistently, not only on ads or social media but also on their packaging...like on bottom of their smoothies you’ll find little messages like “stop looking at my bottom.”
taglines (Example: Nike “Just do it”).
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