If you are wondering whether you need to work on your company or organizational “brand” – the answer is yes!
Nothing in marketing is more powerful than strong brand recognition and strong brand loyalty.
As marketers, we understand that people do not purchase products; they purchase a promise of product performance. In a broader sense, marketing has never been a battle between products – it has always been a battle of perceptions.
On a day-to-day basis, consumers do not have enough information to differentiate between all of the product offerings in the marketplace, so they tend to choose products by the images that those products convey and the product’s perceived value.
In a perfect world, people wouldn’t really care what running shoes they have, just as long as the shoe provided the performance they need. But in the real world, individuals choose “their” shoe because of the brand promise that has been made to them by the manufacturer – that they will be faster, or healthier, or cooler, or safer.
Developed properly, a brand is a message by which a consumer can predict the behavior of that product, and as a result, it leads to the creation of a relationship between buyer and seller. In other words, the perception of a brand has to do with what customers “think” about when they think of your company/product/service.
Do I really think Kraft Peanut Butter is better than all the other options on the shelf? Of course not. I buy the Kraft brand because I grew up eating Kraft and it evokes specific memories in my mind. As a result of my experience, I have created a personal expectation about the quality and the taste of that peanut butter. An expectation that, over the years, I have come to trust will be satisfied by each purchase. I am, in essence, invested in that brand.
So if you are still wondering if you need to assess your current brand perception, ask yourself, what does my desired target think about our product? Is that perception what we want them to think about the product? What would make them change?”
And remember, “A brand is what people think about when they think about us. Branding is the process by which we try to shape and influence those thoughts. In its simplest form then, a brand is a promise to the consumer.”
That promise involves all the thoughts, feelings, associations and expectations that the audience experiences when exposed to the brand. As a by-product, the branding done by an individual company is the process of making sure that the perceptions of the company or product are shaped by intent, rather than by default.
A brand is so much more than the company logo and tag line (contrary to popular opinion)! But that is the topic for another post on another day.