People buy brands while companies sell commodities. Do you feel the difference? Which business would you rather have? One where you are constantly competing on price with all the other commodities out there or a business where your customers demand your brand?
What makes your company stand out, truly stand out? Are your customers loyal to you for more than price or contract? If you cannot say for certain that you stand head and shoulders above your competition, it it time to focus on building your brand.
Anyone can sell a commodity. By definition, a commodity is a marketable item produced to satisfy customers’ wants or needs. Is that what you are currently doing? If you do not have clients under contract, do they consistently return to you to fill their needs? If they do return, think about the reasons why. If it is simply that your price is the lowest, you have not earned their true loyalty. To earn this kind of loyalty, you must focus on creating a solid brand.
A Brand With Value
Distilled, a brand is the sum of all things that make a company valuable. When you hear the word brand a few names probably pop into mind immediately, for instance, Coke. Coke is not Coke by mistake. A brand is a combination of many things including: name; logo; tagline; graphics; shapes (the Coke ribbon); colours; sounds (the Emergency Broadcast System); scent (Joy); and Taste (Big Mac).
Tied in with these tangible elements are customers’ intangible reactions to them: thoughts; feelings; images; perceptions; beliefs; attitudes, etc. When all of these elements work together, an effective brand and the customers’ perception of the brand creates a customer loyalty that goes beyond price or convenience.
Bringing all of these elements together and setting your company above its competition is a daunting task. Pulling together design, message and intangible emotion together in sharp focus requires skill, attention to detail and a clear vision. After all, brands should be built to last for not just years but generations.
To build a brand takes time. There are no overnight success stories. The greatest brands are built the old fashioned way, by blood sweat and tears. Be prepared to do what it takes and avoid shortcuts.
If your brand is built with care, your base of customers loyal to your brand will bring in additional customers. Once established, your brand will stand on its own without the need for constant tweaking. Time and money spent on establishing a brand is a long-term investment with significant pay-offs.
Don’t Leave Your Brand To Chance
Odds are you don’t repair your own plumbing or electrical work at home. The same holds true for creating a brand – leave it to professionals. Enlisting the aid of an experienced brand-maker is importants. A brand agency can help you bring it all together, creating a unified message for your customers.
It is still up to you to provide the highest quality service and commitment to your business. However, with the right branding in place, you’ll see results and return business well-worth your investment. Companies that create stuff without meaning become commodities. Companies that are able to create meaning around their products build brands. That’s the difference between a commodity and a brand.