A product is something that is made in a factory; a brand is something that can be bought by a customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique.
You’ve been busy – testing the market, building your team, raising funds – it’s no easy task. The problem is when you’re juggling so many balls, there are some important things you might forget. Here's why your brand shouldn't be one of them.
1) Branding outsmarts the competition
It’s a competitive commercial world. Even if you’re sure your venture is a first mover, one of a kind, you can guarantee that if you have a potential or growing customer base, others will be making claims for their attention and wallets in no time. So, your business needs to offer more than great features, good price points and a team of winning smiles. It needs to establish a clear and distinct position in the mind's of your customers. It needs to become recognised as the go-to place for what you offer. You might well have first mover advantage. A strong brand helps you keep it.
2) Branding builds credibility
At some point, a new venture will come to the attention of an investor or a customer for the very first time. If either are going to part with their money, it needs to be credible. In fact, every time someone comes into contact with any aspect of a business - it's products, services, people or marketing - it's a chance to reaffirm trust and credibility.
An authentic and consistent brand establishes credibility. With credibility you can begin to build customer loyalty and the type of lasting customer relationships that are key to success.
3) Branding defines the experience
The founder of modern marketing, Theodore Levitt famously said: “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole”. The real value in buying something, is the experience gained from doing so.
However, an experience can be many things, from feeling special (Tiffany’s) or sustainable (Patagonia), to feeling like a local (Airbnb) or globally mobile (Uber). Branding helps define how a business is experienced. Without it, you’re just another quarter-inch drill.