Graeme Newell

product marketing vs. brand marketing: how a harley is more than a bike

Product Marketing and Brand Marketing. The two words get thrown around a lot in the marketing world, but what is the real difference? For some, the two mean the same thing – and that could not be further from the truth.
Watch emotional branding researcher Graeme Newell explain the differences between products and brands, and how understanding the difference can supercharge a brand like nothing else.
Product and Brand. The two words get thrown around a lot in the marketing world, but what is the real difference? For some, the two mean the same thing – and that could not be further from the truth. Separating brand marketing from product marketing is key to making truly moving advertising, and it is a key component to emotional branding.

Emotional Marketing Explained

Emotional marketing is a special type of marketing that looks beyond product marketing and goes straight for the hearts of the customer. Emotional marketing and emotional branding are ways of marketing a product in such a way that the customer comes to see the brand as more than just a product – they see it as a trusted friend. The best companies in the world use these techniques to create brands that have universal appeal. In a way, emotional marketing is the antithesis of product marketing. Whereas product marketing focuses heavily on the actual performance of the product itself, emotional marketing goes deeper and finds out what the customer feels about himself and creates a brand, using brand marketing, around that feeling.

What is Product Marketing?

Product marketing is a way of marketing that focuses on the product itself, without giving much thought or attention to the deeper feelings associated with the product or product category. Product marketing is a throwback to a different era of marketing. Back in earlier years, all a marketer would need is a catchy slogan to go along with their product and they were in business. Unfortunately, these days things aren’t so simple. Nearly every market is inundated with countless competitors ensuring that any meaningful product improvement made by a single company is rendered null within weeks. As a result, unless marketing for a product that is truly revolutionary, product marketing is just not a very good way to try to move products.

How Brand Marketing Differs

Brand marketing is a more effective approach than product marketing because it uses concepts of emotional marketing to build up something more than just a product. In short, brand marketing differs from product marketing in that it seeks to build up a brand, or the collective feelings about the product held by customers, instead of a product. In this, brand marketing seeks to insulate companies from their competitors by not banking solely on the objective worth of their products. In the end, there are very few actual differences between products within a single category, so brand marketing comes out ahead of product marketing nearly every time.

The Benefits of Using Emotional Branding

So when an organization decides to go with the brand marketing route, as opposed to the product marketing one, they are engaging in the practice of emotional branding. Emotional branding is a form of emotional marketing that seeks to build a brand around the feelings and emotions customers have about a brand. A great example of brand marketing and emotional branding done right is the case of Harley Davidson. Harley, through emotional marketing and emotional branding, has created a brand that has transcended its physical product of motorcycles. In fact, if motorcycles were to disappear from the planet tomorrow, the Harley brand would endure.

So let’s review:

  • Emotional marketing is a type of marketing that targets the thoughts, feelings, and desires of the customer. It seeks to develop a deeper relationship with the customer than would be possible with a simple product.
  • Product marketing is a type of marketing that simply doesn’t work very well anymore. It relies on the merits of the product itself and that alone, often leaving a lacking proposition.
  • Brand marketing differs in that it instead seeks to build up a brand around the most powerful emotions that a customer feels. Instead of targeting the brain, it targets the heart of the customer, seeking to build a bond that transcends mere product features.
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