The toilet paper manufacturer has seemingly found a new way to increase customer engagement and build brand equity. Instead of just embossing patters on the paper, the company has decided to emboss its logo on every sheet. Imagine the meetings, time, energy and a myriad of other resources (including retooling of machines) that went into making and implementing this marketing decision. Now imagine the conversation that started the company on this journey to finding ways to create brand equity. Phrases like ‘captive audience’ (not so much), and ‘increased brand awareness’ were probably used, leading to many of the wrong questions being asked and answered.
Brand equity is not created by sticking a logo where a customer has no choice but to see it. Brand equity evolves when the brand is so meaningful to the customer that it becomes part of her story. It doesn’t happen when she sees the logo, but when she wants to be seen with it. Big difference.
The reason the backpacker at the airport covers every part of her 15 inch Macbook apart from the Apple logo with a heavy duty protective case, is because she wants people to know that she is part of the Apple tribe. Her Macbook is as much a part of her identity as the battered, bright yellow, sticker-covered violin case she rests her foot on while she surfs the Internet in the departure lounge.
We don’t commandeer brand equity with adverts or increased exposure. We earn it when we change how the customer feels about herself in the presence of our brand. And yes, it’s even possible to do that with a toilet paper brand, just not in the way we might have done fifty years ago.
Image by Shandi-lee Cox..