Do Brands need to be Marketed Differently Depending on their Stage of Life?

Yes. Brands go through three distinct phases.

This series revisits the basics of branding and marketing by answering questions marketers, entrepreneurs and small business owners face when growing their business. I hope this series provides you with knowledge to think smarter and a nudge to make stuff happen.

Do Brands need to be Marketed Differently Depending on their Stage of Life?

My experience tells me brands go through three distinct marketing communication phases during it’s life span.

1. Awareness & Appreciation
2. Emotional Connection
3. Top-of-Mind Reminders

When you first introduce a new brand, marketing communications should focus on Awareness & Appreciation. Once the brand has established awareness and appreciation, it’s time to focus marketing activities on building an Emotional Connection between the brand and customers. The final phase is using marketing activities to keep the brand Top-of-Mind with customers.

1. Awareness & Appreciation
Using Starbucks as an example, when the brand was considered new and emerging the company focused its marketing efforts on educating customers about higher-quality coffee, dark roast flavor, and coffee drinks.

Because its product was familiar but different, Starbucks had to explain why Arabica beans were higher-quality then the Robusta beans found in nearly every home and restaurant in America. Starbucks also had to explain the basic coffee drinks (Latte, Cappuccino, and Mocha) to an unknowing American audience.

Starbucks used PR campaigns, print ads, in-store brochures, and in-store coffee tastings to increase awareness and appreciation for its unique point-of-view on how coffee should taste.

2. Emotional Connection
After the brand had established itself, Starbucks turned its marketing attention to building an emotional connection to the brand. Coffee is unlike any other beverage. It connects the morning to the night. And, it connects people with people. We begin our day waking up to coffee and we close our dinners sipping on coffee. Throughout the day we discuss life and business over coffee with people.

In the late 90s, Starbucks marketing communications made the transition from education to emotional connection. In-store posters began showing how people enjoy coffee. It’s limited advertising also showed how coffee makes one’s life more enjoyable.

3. Top-of-Mind Reminders
Starbucks is at the point where everyone is aware of the brand and most everyone has had a cup of Starbucks coffee. The brand no longer needs to educate customers about the Starbucks difference. The brand doesn’t need to always reinforce the emotional connection aspect. Instead, the brand uses its marketing activities to remind people of Starbucks in order to keep the brand top-of-mind.


#01 | How Should a Brand be Defined?
#02 | What’s the Difference between Branding and Marketing?
#03 | Is there a Difference between a Company Name and a Brand Name?
#04 | Does every Brand need a Unique Selling Position?
#05 | Do Consumers Really Feel Emotional about Brands?
#06 | How should “Brand Personality” be Described?
#07 | Are Taglines Important? Why or Why Not?
#08 | Are Logos Important? Why or Why Not?
#09 | Can a Brand be Built without a Large Budget?
#10 | Why is a Brand Style Guide important?
#11 | What are Key Components to Include in a Brand Style Guide?
#12 | How Rigid Should a Brand Style Guide Be?
#13 | The Brand Style Guide is Built. Now What?
#14 | What Matters Most to Consumers: Brand, Price, or Convenience?
#15 | Does a Company’s Mission Statement Play a Role in Marketing the Brand?
#16 | How can Business Operations Support the Brand Promise?
#17 | How do you get Employees to “Live the Brand”?
#18 | Do all Marketing Activities need a Strong Call to Action?
#19 | Do Brands need to be Marketed Differently Depending on their Stage of Life?