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ImageNarcissisus là tên của một nhân vật trong thần thoại Hy Lạp. Anh chàng này vô cùng tuấn tú nhưng vì quá đẹp trai nên chàng chỉ yêu chính mình. Sống trên đỉnh Olympia, Narcissisus cho rằng chàng mới là thượng đế, là trung tâm của vũ trụ. Một ngày Narcissus đến bên dòng suối, ngắm nhìn hình bóng xinh đẹp của mình phản chiếu. Chàng ở đó suốt ngày, tự đưa tay vuốt ve cái bóng của mình cho đến mỏi mòn, gục chết bên bờ suối.  Nơi đó đã mọc lên đóa hoa Thủy Tiên trắng muốt. Từ đó hoa Thuỷ Tiên có tên là Narcissisus. Và chứng tự yêu bản thân thái quá (dân mạng thời hiện đại bây giờ có từ khá gần với nghĩa này là “tự sướng”) được gọi là Narcissism.

Gần như tất cả thương hiệu trên thế gian này đều thuộc nằm lòng câu “kinh thánh”: khách hàng là thượng đế, cần phải lắng nghe khách hàng và thấu hiểu họ. Tuy nhiên, một số ít, vô cùng ít, thương hiệu không hẳn đi theo con đường đã vạch sẵn này. Họ tự khai phá một con đường mới và vẫy tay bảo khách hàng: hãy theo tôi và các vị sẽ không phải hối tiếc. Họ ngầm gửi thông điệp rằng họ mới là người tạo ra thượng đế – những người sẽ tôn thờ và trung thành với sản phẩm của họ.

Một trong số những thương hiệu như vậy là Porsche.

Nói đến một chiếc xe siêu sang thể thao, không ai không biết đến thương hiệu Porsche. Thành Rome không được xây trong một giờ. Và việc Porsche định vị thành công vô cùng khác biệt với hàng loạt thương hiệu xe sang khác là cả một câu chuyện dài. Một trong những lý do khiến Porsche khác biệt một cách đáng mơ ước chính là tính “cực đoan” của họ trong thiết kế. Trong cuốn “Thiết kế làm nên thương hiệu”của Jay Green, có đoạn viết rằng “sẽ không có một chiếc Porsche nào được sáng tạo ra bởi một hội đồng, mà chỉ bởi một số rất ít những người ngồi sau bức tường này, những người biết đích xác một chiếc Porsche là gì”.

Những người “ngồi sau bức tường này” ám chỉ những chuyên gia thiết kế sừng sỏ nhất, “dị” nhất trong ngành ô tô đang ngồi tại đại bản doanh của Porche. Nghe có vẻ như Porsche chỉ yêu chính họ, chỉ lắng nghe chính họ thay vì phải lắng nghe khách hàng. Ở khía canh này, có vẻ Porsche rất giống với anh chàng Narcissisus.

Porsche, như chàng trai Narcissisus, rất tự tin vào sắc đẹp của chính mình. Nhưng khác với anh chàng tự kỷ vì quá đẹp này, Porsche không chết khô chết héo một mình bên suối. Ngược lại, Porsche càng đẹp càng độc thì họ càng có nhiềungười khát khao sở hữu họ, khát khao chia sẻ đam mê cái đẹp của họ. Mẫu chốt ở đây là Porche đã rất hiểu insights (sự thật ngầm hiểu) khách hàng của mình. Dù giam mình làm đẹp trong phòng thí nghiệm thiết kế được đóng kín, họ thừa biết ởngoài kia có một bộ phận khách hàng ngóng chờ những mẫu thiết kế độc đáo chỉ mình Porsche sáng tạo ra. Nhóm khách hàng này không đông, nhưng họ giàu và họ thích cái đẹp độc đáo riêng. Porsche không “tự kỷ” với thiết kế độc đáo của họ. Nhưng họ cũng chẳng quan tâm có nhiều người thích thú với điều đó hay không. Họ muốn một vị trí kiêu sa tránh xa ra khỏi những anh công nhân như Honda Accord, Ford Focus hay Fiat. Thậm chí họ không muốn đứng gần những anh quý tộc khác như BMW, Mercedes hay Audi. Điều này thì Porche gần giống anh chàng Narcissisus, họ chẳng tin ai. Họ chỉ tin vào chính họ.

Câu hỏi đặt ra là thương hiệu có nên học tập Porsche trong chiến lược định vị dựa vào chính bản thân họ thay vì cách làmthông thường định vị dựa theo khách hàng. Có lẽ trước khi đặt câu hỏi nên hay không nên, bản thân thương hiệu nên tự hỏi họ họ có gì đặc biệt mỗi khi “soi gương” buổi sáng không đã. Nếu mình tự ngắm mình cố tìm mãi chẳng thấy cái gì “đẹp đẹp” thì hãy tự loại mình từ vòng gửi xe khi cân nhắc chiến lược này. Mà đẹp thôi chưa đủ. Phải rất đẹp và rất độc cơ. Lực hấp dẫn của Porche là ở chỗ các thiết kế của họ đẹp đến nỗi ngay cả những người chẳng biết gì về ô tô, chẳng đam mê gì siêu xe thể thao cũng phải trầm trồ thán phục.

Vậy đó, để có thể chảnh và kiêu, thương hiệu phải được như “trai đẹp” Narcissisus. Tất nhiên không nên “tự sướng” một mình đến chết như nhân vật thần thoại này thì phí của giời. Đã đẹp và độc thì phải để cho thiên hạ ngắm, cái đẹp đó mới bền, mới có ích. Đừng nghĩ Porsche chỉ biết tự cách ly trong bốn bức tường của gian phòng thiết kế của họ. Sau khi hoàn thiện sản phẩm với những thiết kế và tính năng độc đáo chưa ai hình dung ra, họ cũng có nghiên cứu thị trường. Họ mời những tín đồ thích xe sang thể thao đến trải nghiệm và lái thử và cho nhận xét. Nhưng mục đích của Porsche  khi cho khách hàng chiêm ngưỡng và dùng thử này không phải để nghe bình luận làm cơ sở cho việc “tỉa tót” lại sắc đẹp. Họ chỉ muốn lắng nghe để tìm ra phương thức truyền thông và bán hàng hợp lý mà thôi.

Tự tin cao độ vào điểm khác biệt độc đáo của mình, rất ít thương hiệu biết cách “tạo ra thượng đế” như thương hiệu xe thể thao siêu sang Porsche. Đều là sang chảnh, nhưng thay vì chết khô một mình như chàng Narcissisus, Porsche đã mang lại sự trải nghiệm tuyệt vời cho những người thích và có khả năng sở hữu cái đẹp.

Sang, chảnh, kiêu. Thế nào cũng được.  Nhưng phải mang lại lợi ích cho khách hàng. Chỉ tin chính mình. Không sao. Nhưng đừng coi mình là thượng đế như Narcissisus. Hãy biết “tạo ra thượng đế” như Porsche. 

Nguyễn Đức Sơn

Giám đốc chiến lược thương hiệu

 

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551023_10151793729014910_876477601_nBrand philosophy is the most powerful brand differentiation tool because everything can be imitated but brand philosophy.

What is brand philosophy?

Philosophy is a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behavior (Oxford Dictionary)

Brand philosophy is the rule of action to achieve the brand’s defined goals.

Different like Apple

Apple’s brand philosophy comes from their own slohan “Think different”.

In the opinion of Steve Jobs, computers are not just … computers (like IBM). It should also be beautiful. Jobs was obssessed by the beauty. In Walter Isaacson’s autobiography, he described that Jobs even requested engineers to design beautiful inside chip kit despite that few people look into these inner parts.

With the philosophy of “differentiation by the beauty”, Apple’s late-born brands have surpassed giants: iMac vs. IBM, iPod vs. Sony Walkman and iPhone vs. Nokia and Blackberry.

Apple has been put under pressure by the competitor Samsung. The Korean competitor has “copied and pasted” Apple’s recipe of success: focus on eye-catching designs and marketing. However, there is one thing Samsung can only “copy” but cannot to “paste”: Apple’s brand philosophy. “Differentiation by the beauty” has become Apple’s own asset and is not in any particular format for competitors to successfully “paste”.

The philosophy of IKEA

The philosophy of IKEA is “good products for everyone” which is demonstrated in the book “The testament of a furniture dealer” by IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad.

The first line in this “Bible” of IKEA is “Make a better life for everyone day by day” which is also IKEA’s vision these days. Kamprad explained that “In business, many new and well-designed products do not come to most of consumers. The mission of IKEA is to change this situation.”

And the story of Viettel

The philosophy of Viettel is the action of difference dut to the difference of demands among different customer groups. They treat every customer as an individual identity. They respect, care, listen and serve in a differentiated way. Constantly innovated, collaborative with customers to create increasingly perfect products and services. The slogan “Say it your way” and the logo of the quotation mark (the respect of saying citation) both communicate the brand philosophy.

Actually, “Say in your way” is quite similar to Burger King’s “Have it your way”. But luckily, Burger King’s slogan is not common in Vietnam; other wise, the philosophy of “every customer is an individual entity” would find it difficult to communicate to customers.

In the book “Built to last” written by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras about 18 most successful companies in the worrld in the past 100 years. These great brands share on thing in common: they never change their philosophy during their life cycles.

Either strategy or vision/mission can be changed or modified but brand philosophy.

In a flat world, most of things can be imitated except for the brand philosophy. No matter it is good or bad, every brand should have its own philosophy to be different.

Ducson

Brand Strategy – Richard Moore Associates

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1003763_10151804113799910_977985181_nBrands love to be the number one in the marketplace due to several certain benefits. Customers are sometimes willing to pay the high price to get No.1 things. Because the number one means the best and the most trendy (even it may be not sometimes). All activities of the number one can be considered as a benchmark for others to follow. In short, it’s desirable to be the number one.  

English football has been witnessing such a number one. His name is Red Devil – a very desirable name to the rest of England except for a half citizen of Manchester industrial city. Premier League is 20 years old but he has already won 12 championship. The largest and most beautiful stadium is also his. He also possesses 7 out of 11 positions in the typical team of Premier League. Every of his moves will hit the headlines. Competitors all hate MU but they really like to versus him simply because if they can defeat MU, they will be complimented for the whole week. A free PR way that fuels any club to manage to win MU with the hope that they will be on the first page of traditional press such as BBC, The Guardian or even tabloids like The Mirror or Telegraph. In another words, even in years when they failed to be the champion, MU still got benefits from the gift of perceived to be the invincible number one.    

Unfortunately, the situation has being changed so fast. The 2013-2014 season of Premier League has only gone to one third of the journey; however, Man United, for the first time of their glorious life, feels lack of oxygen in summit of being number one. Yes, the troop of David Moyes is truly the number one (the champion of 2012-2013 season, 21 years of championship in English football). But, also for the first time, the number one feel tired of this title.

For the first time, MU has been helpless to see how “little kids” like Norwich or Southampton made jokes over them in their own playground. They felt hurt but could do nothing. For the first time, the number one could not afford to prevent their familiar losers like Everton or Newcastle from earning scores on their Old Trafford stage.

There are always ups and down in one’s life. MU has experienced many failures; however, they have never felt so lonely and weak in the recent failures. The first time, competitors are not afraid of facing them but scorn them. In past, anyone felt scared of MU but now MU seems to be scared of anyone. And the most painful thing was to see groups of fans standing up to go home while the match had not come to the end.

These days, the Red Devil wishes that everyone did not keep track of them and judge them upon the current champion title. Just give them some time to stay calm, to recover and to continue the fierce rally in the coming Christmas and New Year.

Dreams are just dreams. In his heart, Moyes knows that the more glory they have, the more criticism they will receive. The bigger hope, the bigger disappointment. Once they wear the crown, they must accept the fierce judge of the game. The time has changed.  

In the past, Sir Alex had 2-3 first years of failures because MU’s position at that time is not the number one. Today, Moyes inherits a huge heritage of the most valuable global brand; therefore, he is not allowed to have such a huge time budget. In fact, he has already exceeded the acceptable quota. He has broken many records created by Sir Alex. Moyes seems not to be forced to maintain the champion crown in his first and maybe even second season.  

However, there is one thing Moyes must never lose: the credibility of the number one. Unfortunately, this seems to be an impossible mission to this miserable-like Scottish man. Perhaps, it results from the mind of “Top 8” that he is too familiar after 11 years as the coach of Everton. And, he seems also not to be lonely in this aspect.

In an announcement before the match MU lost Everton by 1-0 in their own stadium in Premier Laegue, the deputy chairman Ed Woodward said that “There are still lots of relationship and interest for the club. In fact, you are unable to win all the time. Let’s have a look at Liverpool. They can sell a surprising number of football shirts and hold the second position in Premier League. They still have big partners though they have not win any Premier League trophy since 1990.”

This is surely not the way that the number ones always have in their mind. If MU “looks down” to console the weakness (even temporary), one day their wish would come true: no title in many consecutive years.  

Certainly, the number one may not win all the time. But even in failures, the number one should not be in the shape of a loser – weak and scared. Dear Sir Ed Woodward, did you watch all MU’s matches this season? Did you know that “the king of reversal” now becomes “the king of being reversed”? Why do your room smother with pile of sponsorship contracts in 2013? That is due to the prestige of No.1 MU built by Sir Alex in the past 25 years. Frankly, if MU keeps Sir Ed Woodward’s mindset, MU should prepare to say goodbye to substantial sponsorship contracts. In this competitive context, today’s number one can disappear tomorrow. If you want to be in the middle of the ranking chart from year to year, it’s fine. But remember that it is not the mindset of the number one like MU.     

In 1999, Nottingham Forest (an unfamiliar name in Vietnam) was downgraded. At the end of the final match, 5-year-old Jimmy Clark asked his father, a loyal fan of Nottingham, who bursted into tears while waving the players: Daddy, why don’t you support MU so that you don’t have to cry? They had so may trophies and play beautifully. Mr. Clark silently smiled to his son: No, my dear. For us, Nottingham is always the sexiest team. 

The number of MU’s fans in the world is over 600 million people (as Kantar Media’s statistics in 2012), which means one in every 10 people is MU’s fan (of course, there are various definitions of a true fan). Assume that one day MU is downgraded like Nottingham Forest, how many people will stay by their side, shed tears and proudly say that: For me, MU is always the only and best love? MU should bear in their minds that once they are familiar with victory, it is difficult for them to live with failures. The loyalty, therefore, will be fainter, especially for predictable failures before the end. How “unfair” it is to the number one brand! But, they have no way but get along with this reality.

No one calls the number one brand “the plight of number one”. When achieving such a desirable position, people often call “the status of number one”.

MU has had a very long history in which they are always acknowledge as the number one. This is really convincing and undoubtful in both match records and brand power. Unfortunately, they are in the verge of shifting from the “status” into “plight”. Old Trafford will continue being “The theatre of dreams” but these dreams are maybe the dreams of visitors like the way Norwich, Everton or Newcastle have experienced recently. 

What a risk, from perspective of match records and brand power.

We can temporarily call this “a risk” instead of a fact because MU has another two third of the journey to change its destination. Whether they can do or not depends on who they can buy in the next transfer season in January. But at first, the upper infrastructure (managers & coach) must think in the number one manner.

Like the former generations did excellently in the past 25 years.

Nguyen Duc Son

Brand Strategy Director – Richard Moore Associates

 

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936582_10152096178979910_1253960804_n30 years ago, the American brand strategists Al Ries & Jack Trout, introduced “brand positioning” term which is still the lodestar for marketing and the bedside book for global marketers. He summed up the principle of brand positioning in the book “Brand positioning: the battle for your mind”: a readily acceptable message is the one that talks about what is already in the customer’s mind.

This rule has become the Northern star for any brand positioning activities. However, just like any rule for any category, all theories are relative and there is always exception for success.  The innovative brands are born to break the rule. Instead of being merely follow the demand, they create the demand and navigate the market trend.

The story of Sony Walkman

Anyone knows the one-time famous Sony Walkman product. It is one of breakthrough invention that changed the human’s style of music enjoyment. And, few people knows that Sony Walkman was born without any market research.

Mr. Morita, the chairman of Sony group, predicted that Sony would create a cultural style of music enjoyment in the world. “Be careful when observing the way people live, feel what they want and what can be associate with them. Don’t research the market,” he said.

After its launch, Walkman quickly became a new trend and style of music enjoyment (it was only replaced by Apple’s iPod later on). Since then, the company has continued following its guts to create advanced products like compact disc and Play Station.

Apple’s “Think different” story

Regarding creative breakthrough, there has been hardly a brand that was on a par to compete with Apple. Apple’s products are absolutely always on a line with  the brand philosophy of “Think different”.

Steve Jobs shared their philosophy as follows: “We think that Mac will gain the market share. We do not create Mac for anyone, but ourselves who evaluate whether this design good or bad. We will not research the market. We only want to create the best we can.” (Playboy, 01st February, 1985)

This philosophy seems to contrast the rule of customer-focused product development?

The common path of many brands in the world is maximising the inherent demands of customers. Before launching a new product, the success rate will be higher if the brand meets the core value of certain categories. To find the answer for this basic issue, market research is essential.

However, it is not necessary for brands to follow the majority, especially breakthrough ideas are needed. Henry Ford has a great saying that “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said about a faster horse”

In reality, series of Apple’s creative products from iPod, iMac to iPhone are oriented technology products in stead of following market demand. In stead of asking what clients want, Steve Jobs and his creative team always asked themselves what they want to make creative products, which is inherently in their minds. Apple understands that even asking clients, they are hard to describe such hidden demands.

The rule of frame of reference change

In branding, frame of reference is customer’s associations when a certain product comes to their mind. If the brand is successful in changing the frame of reference, it is possible to become the leader in a certain segment.

Henry Ford is not the inventor of but the one who changed the automobile industry with the invention of Ford Model T in 1908. Before this 950-USD car was introduced, no American can imagine that ordinary people can also have a car instead of the classic horse carriage (Car is for the rich). That’s the reason why Ford had a famous quote “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said about a faster horse”

Before the introduction of Walkman, no one can imagine how they can listen to music anytime and anywhere with the headphones. Similarly, the launch of Apple’s iPhone and iPad has changed the habit of using cellphones in modern world. These days, we can surf the Internet, process documents or share videos, photos with friends from anywhere instead of sitting in front of the PC.

Even in Vietnam, the introduction of Pho 24 also changed the opinion and habit of “eating pho” of a part of urban residents. In the majority’s opinion, the traditional Pho restaurant is on the pavement or in the crowded, even dirty alley as long as Pho is good. In contrast, Pho 24 changed the frame of reference for Pho with clean and luxury restaurants for those who care about amenity and food hygiene. In addition to the existing traditional Pho restaurants, Pho 24 certainly becomes a leader in an entirely new segment.

The successful stories of Ford T Model, Sony Walkman, iPhone or Pho 24 simply proved a rule of branding: All rules are relative. To become a leader, a brand needs to make breakthrough instead of meeting the customer’s certain demands.

Nguyen Duc Son

Brand Strategy Director – Richard Moore Associates

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