Create a Powerful Brand
It’s possible to create a strong selling proposition and value proposition but not create a powerful brand. The Newton by Apple had both a strong USP and UVP but failed to create a good brand for Apple. Part of your goal in creating a great business model should be to create a powerful brand.
All companies and products have a brand. Branding isn’t exclusively for consumer products. Service companies, manufacturers, distributors, and all other types of businesses have brands. Your brand is simply the emotional linkage that your customer has to your product. The more unique and useful your brand is to the customer, the more valuable it is to you.
It doesn’t matter what you think your brand is; only the customer’s perception of your brand matters. To you, Starbucks coffee may mean a delicious pick-me-up on the way to work. To your neighbor, Starbucks coffee may mean a brief indulgence during a tough day.
What does your brand mean to your customer? Is your brand meaningful in the eyes of the customer? In order to be meaningful to your customers, your brand should solve an important problem for them.
Meaningful brands can be difficult to create for some business models. A distributor of wholesale plumbing supplies is the important vendor to its customers, but it may be difficult to turn into a meaningful brand simply because of the business type. This is the curse of non-consumer businesses. It’s much easier to create a powerful brand for a consumer-based business than for a business that sells to other businesses.
Don’t use this difficulty as an excuse not to develop your brand. Many business-to-business companies have created powerful brands despite this handicap. Some examples include:
BASF (“We don’t make the things you buy; we make the things you buy better”)
Augmenting your USP and value proposition with a strong brand gives your business model a solid foundation. You can have a solid business model without a strong brand; however, competitors will have the opportunity to steal market share if they can create a good brand.