This is a new term for me, but a great part of the discussion. I first heard the term in a MarketingProfs eNewsletter that quoted the Living Light Bulb blog by Ryan Karples. The concept of “branding” is essentially starting with a brand and trying to create an association, such as Volvo and “safety”.
Reverse branding is starting with a category and trying to make the brand the obvious choice, such as search and then Google being the the first choice. With the litany of brands in the marketplace, reverse branding is the way the consumer’s mind works.
Karples gives the following recommendations for reverse branding:
Make a personal connection. Says Karpeles: “Kindness, mixed with a little bit of creativity, goes a long way in a world filled with companies who consistently settle for the bare minimum.” Create an emotional tie with your customers through handwritten notes, phone calls or gifts.
Give people a reason to talk about you. We pay far more attention to recommendations from friends, family and even strangers than we do to advertisements. Is your company up to the challenge? “Don’t get caught up in controlling the message,” says Karpeles. “Instead, do things that are worthy of passing along.”
Tell a story with your product or brand. Human history is filled with stories passed from generation to generation. “Customers can latch on to stories,” says Karpeles. “They can’t latch on to corporate buzzwords and abstract slogans.” So tell a story—whether humorous, clever, offbeat or just plain interesting—that your customers can internalize.
The Po!nt: Writes Karpeles, “People rarely think of your actual brand first. They think about what they want. Then they decide who, specifically, can fulfill that desire. Being that who is the essence of reverse branding.”
I recommend you check out the original post, but it sounds a lot to me like the word-of-mouth marketing, doesn’t it? Creating a cause, delivering an experience, creating a simple repeatable message – reverse branding is simply following the basics of word-of-mouth marketing.