What Brands Do for You - dummies

By Bill Chiaravalle, Barbara Findlay Schenck

Brands create consumer trust and emotional attachments. As a result, they foster relationships between consumers and products that withstand pricing wars, transcend offers from new competitors, and even overcome rare lapses in product or service excellence.

Great brands aren’t just known and trusted. They’re loved.

For examples of brands that enjoy strong bonds with customers, the next time you’re stuck in traffic, look at the logos posted in the windows of the cars around you. Each time you see a logo decal, try to think of that brand’s chief competitor. Then ask yourself, “What’s the chance that a buyer of the competing brand would display the brand’s logo with such pride?”

Only brands that strike deep emotional chords with customers make their way into hearts, minds — and car windows.

As you develop your brand and it gains strength and loyalty in your market area, look forward to reaping the following benefits.

Brands make selling easier

People prefer to buy from companies they feel they know and can trust. Brands put forth that assurance.

Whether you’re selling products to consumers, investment opportunities to stockholders, job opportunities to applicants, freelance or consulting services to clients, or ideas to constituents, a brand paves the way for success by establishing positive awareness of your unique and meaningful promise before you ever present your sales proposition.

When people are aware of your brand and its unique and positive attributes, they understand what you stand for and what unique value they can count on you to deliver. As a result, when it comes time to make a sale, brand owners can concentrate on the wants and needs of the consumer because they don’t need to explain themselves.

Without positive brand awareness, you have to build a case for the value you deliver every single time you get ready to make a sale. While brand owners are closing the deal, those without strong brands are still introducing themselves.

Brands prevail over no-name offerings

In the marketplace, you have either a one-of-a-kind brand or a one-is-as-good-as-any-other commodity.

  • Brands are products defined by and chosen for their unique distinguishing attributes and promise. Consumers are willing to spend extra effort and money to obtain the brands they believe in.

  • Commodities are products that are easy to substitute and hard to differentiate. Oil, coffee beans, wheat flour, and milk are commodities. Consumers buy commodities because they meet minimum standards and are available when and where they’re needed and at the lowest price. Only commodity items that are distinguished by a unique attribute and promise — think of Pillsbury flour as an example — develop into strong brands.

As proof of how brands pave the way for positive decisions, imagine you’re setting out to buy a computer and you see one emblazoned with a known logo — the face of a known brand.

It’s likely that your next step is to dive into a discussion with the salesperson of how much memory the particular model you’re viewing contains, how the machine can be customized to your needs, what software is included, and other details that will move you to the purchase decision.

On the other hand, if you see a no-name model — even at a dramatically lower price — you’re likely to first try to assess the quality of the manufacturer. You may ask the salesperson where the computer was made, how long the manufacturer’s been in business, whether the manufacturer is reliable, whether other customers have been satisfied, and other mind-calming questions about consumer satisfaction levels, warranties, and return programs.

Selling a no-name item is a costly route to a sale in a brick-and-mortar setting, and it’s even a tougher proposition online, where no one is standing by to offer explanations, inspire confidence, counter resistance, or break down barriers for your consumers.

Brands build equity

Brands that are preferred and valued by consumers deliver a long list of business benefits that translate to higher sales, higher profit margins, and higher owner value. Consider these brand advantages as proof:

  • People are willing to pay more to buy brands that they believe deliver outstanding and desirable benefits. This is true for business brands, product brands, and personal brands.

  • Consumers stay loyal to brands, buying them more often, in greater volume, and without the need for promotional incentives.

  • Retailers provide brands greater store visibility because they know that brands drive sales and result in higher store revenues.

  • Brand owners can grow their businesses by leveraging their brands into product and line extensions rather than having to introduce new products from scratch.

  • Brand owners find it easier to attract and retain good employees because applicants believe in the quality of the workplace based on advance knowledge of the caliber of the brand.

  • Brand owners run more efficient operations because they align decisions with the mission, vision, and values that underpin the brand promise.

  • Brand owners benefit from increased market share, increased investor support, and increased company value.