To know if brand matters first we should clarify what a brand is: Let me whisk you off to the world of imagination and picture yourself in a toy shop, in front of you a cute yellow stuffed toy bear priced at £50. As you’re imagining this, are you feeling any emotional connection to this shop or this toy, how much has your mind created how the store looks? Are you thinking, blimey that’s a lot of money for a stuffed toy? If I reveal to you that you are standing in the Disney Store, do those gap start to fill in your mind? You might now know the size of the shop, what the staff members’ look like, their greeting as you walk in. And the yellow bear is Winnie The Pooh. Are you starting to feel an emotional connection to familiar memories of that bear? Is £50 sounding more reasonable? You might now be thinking of a specific Disney store, regardless to which one, whether the one in your town or one thousands of miles away, I bet it feels like the same store. The only thing that has changed here, is we have applied a brand to this scenario.
A brand is a persons feeling toward a product, service or company. We can’t control how people feel, but a strong brand can influence it.
In that exercise would a logo have made any difference? Would a flashy website, a specific font or pretty sign above the door of the nameless toyshop have made you feel an emotional connection?
Now does all of that matter for a business? I remember someone saying to me once, ‘If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its products, buildings, staff in a disaster, the company would survive. But, if overnight everyone had a sudden loss of memory and forgot everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.’
Over the years companies have come to realise the value of a brand, not only for building a business, beating off competitors but cold hard cash. Here comes another example… You have two boxes of tea bags, one priced at £2.99 the other at 27 pence. Which do you choose? Now I’m sure you’re thinking it’s the quality that makes me spend the £2,99, nothing to do with the branding or the blue packet with the cute little cartoon removal men on, that give me confidence that, that tea is the best? But have you tried the 27 pence tea? Maybe it’s made at the same place, with the same tea?
Brands matter because consumers need a way to choose between competitors whose actual products are not differentiated in the market. We need brands in order to make purchasing decisions. But to build a brand, to influence how customers feel about your business takes strategic planning, a professional visual identity and all of your staff living and breathing the brand, demonstrating it in the same way. All united under one identity.
Finally, when I mention three random brand names (Apple, Virgin & Coca-Cola) do you think of just a product or do you feel like you know much more about the company and their values?
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