Perhaps at the opposite end of the spectrum is the notion of a "benchmark" brand. A brand that sets a standard for a consumer, one that symbolizes something special that no other brand can touch. There is such an emotional connection that it becomes the gold standard in a consumer's mind.
Like walking into a party and seeing Veuve Clicquot champagne sitting in ice buckets. A benchmark brand because you know the host has gone all out and it's going to be a fun night.
You meet a blind date and she walks in with a Louis Vuitton bag. Benchmark brand that says she's concerned about how people perceive her and she's had success in her life. Or better yet, you finally are able to get one yourself, and that feeling you have when you walk out the store with that brown shopping bag in tote. Benchmark brand.
A family trip to Disney World, like you imagined you would do when you had kids and they were old enough (but not too old) to really enjoy the time together. Benchmark brand.
You visit a friend and notice that they have Tropicana orange juice in their fridge. Sign of a well stocked fridge with healthy choices. Benchmark brand.
I had my own benchmark brand experience this past weekend. I've been on Weight Watchers since January 1st (classic New Year's Resolution) to trim down and shape up. I have a favorite pair of Diesel jeans, size 30, that I have not been able to wear for probably 3 years. Those jeans are a symbol to me of fitness and style.
I got the courage up to try them on again, just to see how far from goal I am. Happy to say that they slipped right on, buttoned right up, and I was still able to bend over and even eat lunch later on. Score!
Those jeans, particularly that brand and size, have become my benchmark.
What an amazing space to occupy in consumers' minds, being a benchmark brand. Not everyone can do it, and it's not always about price or style. Tylenol had it for a long time. Coca-Cola does for some people. It's about an emotional connection that can't be compared.
What's your benchmark brand ... what's your experience? Jim.
PS - My book "The Experience Effect" won the Silver Medal yesterday for best marketing book at the Axiom Business Book Awards. So psyched!