The Levison Letter


Which should you spend your money on?

Branding or benefits? 


March, 2014


If you're trying to sell a product or service, there are basically two ways to go.


1. You can put your marketing dollars into promoting your brand image, 


OR . . .


2. You can try to convince prospects to purchase your product by making a rational case citing facts and benefits.


Let me explain further . . .


When we speak of promoting a" brand," we're not really talking about mere products sitting on a shelf. We're actually referring to a set of beliefs that the prospect has developed about a product or company over time.


A brand, in other words, is a powerful mental franchise that stays deeply embedded in the prospect's mind. For example . . .


The Volvo brand has come to stand for safety.


The Disney brand stands for wholesome family entertainment.


The FedEx brand stands for reliable delivery.


Benefit-oriented marketing, on the other hand, does not try to create or sustain a powerful "image." Yes. It seeks to persuade by using emotion, just as branding does, but it also uses reason and logic. It does this by identifying problems that the prospect may be experiencing, and demonstrating that the product/service solves these problems.


Virtually all direct marketing is benefits oriented.


Now comes an important question: Which marketing approach should you pursue? Should you try to build a brand? Or should you attempt to sell customers with benefits-oriented arguments?


My answer may surprise you, and I'll put it as bluntly as I can . . . 


Forget about branding!


Ah, yes. I know that endless books have been written about the importance of branding. And I know that business schools enthusiastically present case studies in branding strategies. And they are right to do so!


The reason I think you should stop worrying so much about branding is that (very possibly), you can't afford it. That's right. Penetrating a portion of a person's mind takes big bucks.


For example, if I asked you to fill in the line: "You're in good hands with __________," you'd have to be in a coma (or live outside of America) not to know that the answer is "Allstate."


You came up with the right answer, of course, because Allstate has shelled out zillions of dollars in TV, radio, print, and outdoor media buys to pound the message home.


To me, it's axiomatic that successful branding takes money that smaller companies just don't have. This means that you shouldn't spend a fortune on an expensive logo because it's "expressing your brand." Nor should you hire "branding consultants" unless you have the resources to make your message stick!


How then, should you proceed? How can you get the cash register ringing over the short term, and with just limited resources?


By creating hard-hitting email, advertising, direct mail, collateral, etc., that demonstrates to prospects that you deeply understand their "pain points." And that your product or service provides benefits that can make their pain go away.


If you want to me to start writing motivating, benefits-oriented copy for you, consider this an invitation to get in touch. Whatever you need in the way of copywriting, I'd be glad to hear from you.


Check out the kind of results I get for my clients . .


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. . . then give me a call at (415) 461-0672 or

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I'd love to say hello in person!



How to get in touch . . .
Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
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Ivan Levison. Direct Mail, Email & Advertising Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive, Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone (415) 461-0672      Fax: (415) 461-7738

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