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Genuine, authentic marketing is a lot like philosophy. It’s built by asking big questions: What value does this company bring to the market? What is its purpose? How and why does it make sense for its customers?
We sat down with LiveVox CMO Nick Bandy to get to know him better and learn how he crafts a compelling brand story that speaks directly to customer needs and aspirations while staying true to core brand values. With a unique blend of creative flair, tech enthusiasm, and a love for the written word, Nick’s insights offer a fresh perspective on building compelling brands, crafting stories that sell, and aligning leadership with brand purpose.
In this article, we explore Nick’s penchant for thinking differently, his favorite marketing campaign, the dynamic intersection of creativity and business, and more.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
On the best marketing campaigns ever
“This is a tough one, but I think my favorite marketing campaign is the iconic “Think Different” campaign by Apple. I appreciate it for its ability to inspire and resonate with anyone who aspires to think differently – who sees themselves as having a unique perspective to offer. The campaign’s anthem, “Here’s to the crazy ones,” encapsulates the essence of the brand and its appeal to individuals who seek innovation. But I can’t list just one, I’ve got to share two. The “Got Milk” campaign from the 90s left an indelible mark on the advertising world for several reasons: 1) It’s simple and universal, and 2) It gave an emotional appeal to an everyday item.”
“But the campaign’s brilliance really lies in its simplicity. The slogan “Got Milk?” consists of just two words and a question mark. That’s it! This brevity makes it easy to remember and allows it to transcend language barriers. It’s a universal question that anyone, regardless of their background, can understand. And what a universal experience – the frustration of running out of milk when you need it most! This relatable scenario creates an emotional connection with the audience. People could instantly relate to the feeling of wanting milk for their cereal or cookies and not having any. THAT’S good marketing.”
On building a strong brand in a crowded space
“To say standing out as a brand in the internet age is difficult is an underestimate. That’s why it’s so important to speak to your customers through their eyes and help them realize what they can achieve with your brand. As a B2B marketing leader, you need to focus on how your brand can help customers be successful rather than just listing features and benefits, because customers don’t want out-of-the box bells and whistles. Customers want to make bold statements and advance their careers, so your brand should communicate how it can empower customers to do so.”
On aligning market needs, customer expectations, and brand narrative
“Understanding your customers at a deeper level is the key to crafting compelling brand positioning that resonates with their needs and expectations. To effectively position your brand, you need to offer products or services that genuinely address your customers’ pain points and desires. A deeper understanding enables you to create solutions that are not just functional but emotionally resonant. Authenticity is paramount in today’s marketing landscape, too. Customers are increasingly drawn to brands that align with their values and beliefs. To position your brand authentically, delve into your customers’ lifestyles, values, and cultural nuances. Participate in their communities
“I tell my kids “people will always remember how you make them feel,” and I think it’s true of brands, too. To truly channel the spirit of your ideal buyers in this endeavor, you have to remember that it’s not just about understanding your customers superficially but empathizing with them, walking in their shoes, and feeling what they feel. It’s about being agile and responsive, ready to pivot your brand positioning when necessary. Most importantly, it’s about being authentic and honest in your communication, building a brand that customers can trust and be loyal to.”
On turning brand ingredients into a cohesive growth strategy
“It’s important to find a balance between rational and emotional aspects in marketing, especially in the B2B space where the organization’s needs are rational and bottom-line oriented but the decision-maker’s needs can be more nuanced. A brand needs to communicate not only what a product does but also how it can help customers on an emotional, or intangible level. But, at the same time, a brand also needs to be adaptable and prepared to pivot in response to changes in the market. This is why innovation needs to be driven by the desire to address your customers’ unmet needs. For the best brands, innovation can be a collaborative effort, involving customers in co-creation processes for campaigns, like the Apple “Think Different” example I mentioned. Let your customers be a part of shaping the future of your brand.” In general, the best brands are fabricated, but rather authentically found from within. Speaking with your customers is the best way to uncover that.
“Now, when it comes to creating a growth strategy that can pivot with change, imagine your brand as a guide in a story. Create a narrative that reflects your customer’s insights, weaving their needs, desires, and values into your brand’s identity. This narrative should be more than just a tagline; it should speak to your audience on a visceral level. It’s not about selling a product and scribing a laundry list of features; it’s about inviting customers on a journey that aligns with their aspirations and then positioning your brand as that guide. Like what we did with Game Changer –- we reinforce the message of impactful change at every touchpoint a person has with us so every part of the LiveVox brand reflects the narrative we’ve created. From our website to our social media presence to our event booths, every detail speaks the language of our customers’ desire for meaningful action.”
Balancing creativity and business acumen to tell stories that sell
“I started my career in a creative background and was always a technology enthusiast, but I gained a new perspective as I was exposed to more complex and unique business opportunities. I learned that strategic planning should account for both long-term vision and adaptability to external influences that can change rapidly, especially in the technology space. Creativity is most effective when it’s tailored to a specific audience. Growth metrics are also more meaningful when they’re aligned to specific outcomes – that’s a natural balance. Our marketing department at LiveVox uses data analytics to inform our creative decisions and craft a brand narrative and go-to-market strategy that blends good creative with our business values and objectives.”