HOW TO USE A BRAND TO DRIVE GROWTH AFTER LOCKDOWN
The term ‘brand’ can be applied to a product, but also to a service, or even an entire company. It can’t be seen, but the emotions and feelings it invokes shape and guide customers' decisions.
While a brand is less clearly defined, a commodity is a very specific item. Commodities compete only on a transactional basis and are governed only by price. They have no other value beyond this and, consequently, a limited shelf life. They are largely interchangeable with one another. Brands, on the other hand, have indefinite lives. That is the crucial difference.
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS WITH BRANDS
A brand is something that every individual constructs his or her own unique version of. It very much depends on a large enough collection of these individuals coming to some sort of consensus about what the brand means.
Emotion and intuition form the basis of the choices a customer makes. Brands play on this by appealing directly to the customer’s desires, and by projecting a particular image.
OFFERING INSURANCE AND MINIMISING RISK
One of the main draws of a powerful, well-known brand is that it offers customers the security of known experience, even if this experience has no tangible basis in reality. This brand ‘loyalty’ ensures that these leading brands take the majority share of the market. There is a perception, even if only imagined, that the brand offers less ‘risk’, since it offers a comfortable and familiar experience. Most customers would rather settle for this option than take a chance on something new.
CASE IN POINT - VIRGIN MEDIA
Virgin Mobile is a company that has succeeded in the marketplace due to ‘piggybacking’ on the success of other competitors in the mobile phone market, such as T-Mobile. It has no infrastructure of its own and offers mostly identical services to its competitors. Yet, it has triumphed largely because of its highly recognizable brand. Public perception of Virgin is greater than T-Mobile so they have capitalised very shrewdly on this. Branding will trump nearly any other factor, almost every time.
All companies have the potential to build a brand – after all, no matter how strong or weak, sharply defined or vague, all companies, by default, already have a brand. The only question is what you do with it.
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here