Should Your Company Focus On Brand Or Product?
People rarely say “I need a soft napkin”, they say “I need a Kleenex”. Although it often goes unnoticed, a successful brand has the power to replace the name of a well-known commodity. Brands have the ability to create a persona, build trust, or embody quality. People attribute memories to brands; older adults think back fondly to their Tupperware parties, not their plastic container parties. Products come and go, but brands are lasting. If you haven’t already guessed it, yes, creating a brand should be your company’s focus. If you still need some convincing, here are a few reasons why brand recognition is more important than product innovation.
Brands Add Value
A good brand adds value to the products they represent. There’s no better example of a brand adding value than Starbucks. $5 coffee, yeah right! Customers are not paying for coffee, they’re paying for Starbucks brand name. Over the years, Starbucks gain notoriety and subsequently became associated with quality and prestige. Starbucks transcends product or pricing, people are willing to pay a premium for their coffee because they spent so much time and money building up their brand name. Most products are not original, either there’s an improvement on an already existing product or some sort of variation; therefore in a marketplace where everyone is pedaling the same product, different branding is the only thing that sets apart one company from others.
Brands Tell a Story
People can resonate with a story. Often times companies sell an intangible idea or story before the product even shows up on the screen. Think about the last time you saw a Nike commercial, aside from athletes wearing the Nike gear in the background, you wouldn’t know exactly what the product is until the “Just do it” tagline runs across the screen. Nike stopping “selling” their products a long time ago. The nationally recognized mega brand started appealing to their customer’s ethos by deciding to use storytelling as a marketing tool. Nike realized they can capture their audience’s attention by showing the struggles or shortcomings of athletes and draw lateral connections between multi-million dollar athletes and college students or stay at home moms. By telling these stories and finding common ground between famous people and everyday people, the brand is ultimately selling the idea that their shoes are for the amateur and the professional. Brands have the platform to tell stories, products don’t have the same clout.
Brands Outlive Products
Apple’s first product was the Apple 1, designed in 1976. It goes without saying, the apple 1 is no longer available for sale. Although Apple’s first product is as good as dead, the company itself is thriving beyond belief. Apple placed a bigger precedence on creating a noteworthy brand name as opposed to marketing the Apple 1 innovation. Apple saw that there was a bigger picture, they realized the Apple 1 was not going to be the first and last product by the brand. Instead of spending money promoting the product they decided to build the brand around the idea that Apple is a company of innovation. Products are a dime a dozen, but good brands are rare. Most people may not be able to remember a product by name but brands are instantly recognizable and have a longer shelf life.
Brands have a way of growing with us and becoming so integrated into our lives that we can’t remember a time without them. Companies have an opportunity to build a lasting legacy through their brand. Taking the time to thoroughly conceptualize your brand in the early stages of your company, can be the difference between a product that’s a one-hit wonder or a brand that’s a household name.