I have a great product; do I really need to make a branding effort?
You have a great product?
It’s what people really want?
It’s superior to the competition's?
Or better yet, it doesn’t have any competition.
Well, all of that is excellent! It’s a great starting point for creating an amazing brand universe.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your great product actually replaces having a brand.
To quote Gary Vaynerchuck, "The greatest companies in the world don’t sell. They brand."
Without a brand, your product merely becomes a commodity, easily replaceable by another product that is similar, better and/or cheaper. But by creating a brand universe where your clients enjoy a full enjoyable brand experience, you would have forged your place in the consumer’s mind; and THAT is not only difficult to emulate but also very difficult to replace.
Think of some of these big brands that have made their mark around the world: Coca-Cola & Pepsi.
How many "me-too" products have been vying to take some share of the market from giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi? After all, they are merely selling a soft drink, right? WRONG. These 2 have created aspirational worlds where beautiful celebrities promote their drinks, where Christmas is magical and where helping others is the norm. Through constant branding and communication efforts as well as activations and CSR actions (not to mention their brand battles which help them both keep the marketing bar high), they are a perfect example of why it’s important to brand and why creating a product is only the starting point of a business' success. Today, both these brands rank on Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands and Interbrand’s Best Global Brands’ lists. And that is not haphazard. It is the fruit of ongoing product, packaging & communication efforts.
"It’s clear the best global brands are not just weathering change, but driving it," says Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer. "They understand their anatomy of growth is complex, unique and personal; they look inward and outward, expand into new markets, and create better experiences to grow their brands and businesses."
Right now, you’re probably thinking "but not everyone is Coca-Cola or Pepsi" and that’s true. But no matter how big or how small, "A" brand and the great experience it provides its clients will be at the heart of driving businesses forward, whether we’re talking about beverage giants or the local bakery shop. Customer service, product, packaging, community involvement, communications, etc. all play a role in engaging & retaining clients and therefore progressively increasing brand value.
So, what is the takeaway here?
Don’t just think sales.
Think of creating a sustainable brand.
Strong brands have long-term value.
Clients are loyal to brands, not products.
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