Brand marketers: don’t give customers what they want

Brand marketers: don’t give customers what they want

I started to write this post last week about Help Remedies, a pharmaceuticals company that doesn’t think, feel and act like a pharmaceuticals company.

But then I read the New York Times Magazine cover story about Barney’s, and I’m glad I waited. Because this story about Barney’s new management team and its makeover – Don’t Give Customers What They Want – dovetails with what I was going to write about Help Remedies.

Referring to its makeover, former CEO Gene Pressman states that “Barney’s has never been about giving customers what they want. It has been about educating, expanding horizons, presenting the unexpected. If you give customers what they want, then you die. The fact is they don’t know what they want.”

Which leads me back to Help Remedies, and three things that I really appreciate about this very unpharma-like pharmaceuticals company.

First. It’s very apparent that they are led by a strong belief – challenging expectation of what people believe about a pharmaceuticals company – beyond what they do.

Second. The fact that this belief is powerfully expressed through their behaviors – from name, logo, tagline (take less™), messaging, web, products, experiences, through to online purchasing.

Third. The sense of belonging they promote by living their promise of “we’re not just another pharmaceuticals company.” Case in point, the pop-up Help Shop in Washington DC for relief for any kind of pain. The store offered small remedies for those in need of help, from low dose drugs to life suggestions, from headache to heartache. The goal was to show people that most problems in life can be remedied with something small, rather than high dose pharmaceuticals.

Think about your business. Are you giving customers what they want? Or, similar to Barneys and Help Remedies, are you educating, expanding horizons, presenting the unexpected?

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment as an opportunity to move customers, brands and businesses upward to a new destination.

2 thoughts on “Brand marketers: don’t give customers what they want