Regardless of how great your product or service is, if no one pays for it, then you will soon get frustrated or have to close your shop. That is why great organizations don’t joke with marketing and branding. Every serious-minded business owner will always think about how to increase revenue as growth will be almost impossible without this. And just because you have a great product does not guarantee that you will have loads of customers scrambling for your product or service.
Most people agree that some of the world’s greatest brands are not actually better than a lot of their competitors; truth is, some of the competitors-in fact, have better products than these celebrated ones. So, what swings the pendulum of success one way or the other ?
There are several ways to improve sales-better quality, improved marketing, price reduction, branding, opening up new market, creating another variant of your product/service etc. Right now, my interest lies in promoting something that has a bit of everything, or at least, appears to-branding. Branding is what makes your product/service identifiable in the marketplace; what makes it stand-out amongst others.
Wouldn’t you choose a designer cloth over the one you have not heard of its maker? Wouldn’t you rather take your date to an eatery that connotes class rather than a good eatery no one knows? Wouldn’t you rather buy a movie you can identify the actors on its cover than one you don’t know any of the actors? In reality, the ones unknown may actually be better than the known ones, but that exactly is what branding does: it ensures that when a choice has to be made, it is made in favour of the branded product. This is achieved by the power of perception.
Although, it sometimes sounds incredulous, silly and trivial, yet perception sells. How people view a thing most times influence their entire behavioural pattern towards that thing. Branding creates an illusion of satisfaction. And if you are able to successfully create the picture that your product/service is superior to that of your competitors, then, be prepared to constantly smile to the bank. Customers become addicted to the product/service because each time they make use of it, they feel happy, fulfilled and grateful that they could partake in it use. There is a swirling of emotion right from deep inside them; a feeling of immense joy which ensures they come back for the product/service.
An appropriate word perhaps is the catch phrase in the movie Fled: Nothing is what it seems. Well, maybe there indeed are some things that are what they seem, but you really cannot argue with the fact that most of the things we do is affected by how we perceive something rather than how true that thing is. For instance, we tend to act fast when we feel there is a deadline or limited opportunity to get a product or service. This is the reason why when you read e-books, you always see paragraphs which tell you the product is limited or the price will change soon or that if you do not act immediately, you will lose the chance forever.
This is the reason why you find adverts making use of superstars to promote their product/service. The thinking is that if people can consider the product/service as classy, then they will most likely chose it ahead of any of its competitors when they have to make a decision to have such a product/service.
To get customers addicted to your product/service, you have to create a buzz around that product/service. You have to get it in peoples’ faces. You have to get people to talk about it. These days, this is not as expensive as it used to be primarily because of the ability of social networks to make things go viral within minutes. A bit of creativity will be needed here to ensure that you get your product to potential customers. Once you successfully make people positively think of your product/service, then you are guaranteed of an improved sales.
Note, however, that if you actually do have a bad product/service, your situation is almost irredeemable. I will honestly advice that you go work on better products/services which you can then brand. If it is rubbish, no one will be ready to part with their money to use it. In fact, you’ll probably not want to be associated with it yourself. Why then should anyone else?
To effectively brand your product/service, you need to:
* Have a good product/service (well, not necessarily great, but it must be, at least, good);
* Know what your market is (truth is, even though you will rather have it so, you can’t get everyone to like or want your product/service so find out the class that will appreciate it most and concentrate on them);
* Find out who your competitors are (know their products and ensure you use every real or perceived failures to your utmost advantage);
* Create a class around your product/service (in reality, it may not be any better than its rivals but you must make everyone think it is the best thing since slice bread- remember, perception sells);
* Make sure the packaging of the product/service is attractive and professionally thought out (appearance speak volume as do the environment a thing is organized);
* Create a distinct, smooth, lovable and easy catch phrase (or tagline), a logo and/or sign that is as-sociable with your product/service (the idea is to have a phrase people will keep using and a sign that can go viral because the more people make use of these things that are associated with your product/service, the more you can be sure that they will think of your product/service when the need arise); and
* Keep your brand promise (if you give an impression, then, be ready to deliver on it when the time comes; if you don’t, customers will not come back or introduce someone else to your product/service).
If a brand results from a set of associations and perceptions in people’s minds, then branding is an effort to harness, generate, influence and control these associations to assist the business perform better. Any establishment can benefit tremendously by creating a brand that presents the company as distinguished, honest, exciting, reliable and other attributes that are appropriate to that business.
Creating an effective brand does not have to be something very expensive or elaborate. A good business culture can promote your goods better than several things. The effect of a genuine smile and a heart-felt laughter is more powerful than offering the customer a drink. You will get customers coming back if you simplify your services or make their lives easier.
If you will bother about easing their stress, they will bother about increasing your bank balance. So, ultimately, you are your business’ brand-creator and your acts or/and omissions will affect the way people perceive your goods/service. You include your partners, employees and anyone associated with your business. Everyone will either make the product/service more valuable or less valuable. You must entrench a culture that supports the perception you want which will invariably affect your corporate branding.