What's Your Favorite Brand and Why?
Go ahead. Think about it for a minute. Whose jeans are you wearing? What soda do you drink? What car do you drive?
Then comes the second question. Why?
Each of us is a brand of our own. What we wear, eat, buy, and even where we live makes up that personal brand. I was recently in a middle school where the personal brand issue is on steroids. There were students walking in a kind of crouch with knees bent and an awkward clomping to avoid “creasing” their new shoes.
Other kids appreciated the “pain” taken not to crease the shoes. It was okay to walk slowly and strangely to protect the shoes. No one was mocked for their stilted gait. When they sat down, the shoes looked perfect. Others could now admire their shoes.
They didn’t see the irony in sitting down so that a pair of athletic shoes looked great. Depending on the style, two or three pairs of these shoes cost more than my first car. A ’71 Dodge Charger SE, she made a statement of her own.
The shoes the students are wearing are so coveted that they, too, are something you can now buy used online. A student explained to me how he was collecting each color produced
of the one style. He said he would buy a used pair if the sole didn’t have much wear and of course there could be no crease. In his opinion, this was a worthwhile pursuit costing hundreds of dollars.
Each of us has something we’re willing to pay more for. The question is ”What makes that brand or specific product worth it?”
What value does that brand bring to the table that others don’t? This is something you must consider early on as you begin to put your name or your company name out there.
What do you stand for?
In fact when you begin your branding strategy, keep these questions and their answers front and center at all times:
What do you stand for?
What makes your company different or better?
How does someone who uses your product feel?
Some companies choose to put what they stand for in their name. Jessica Alba named her company Honest to represent its safe and ecofriendly brand. Simply Fresh used a similar tactic to let you know about their fresh ingredients. In my case, Dove Copywriting, has my own name. When you buy my writing skills, you get me and all the skills I have to offer.
Once you know what you stand for, you’ll need to find what makes you different or better. When it comes to athletic shoes, it helps to have the endorsement of a popular athlete, someone who wears your shoes and excels at a sport wearing them.
Honest isn’t the first company to say their products are safe and ecofriendly. However, having a well-known actress as part of the company helps set them apart. Movie stars use these products.
The thing that sets you apart may be the company’s spokesperson. It may be the way or where a product is made. It may be a truly new innovation or ingredient.
Think of Pringles. They are a snack food among many. But their shape and packaging set them apart from others in the market. The fact that they aren’t really “chips” is not what sells them. The consistent, unbroken product and unique packaging are the features that stick in most people’s minds. I’d like some right now.
Deciding what makes your brand different or better is significant. Pringles have been around for over 50 years. Is that the type of product or service you are developing? You can always rebrand later if you need to, but if you’ve been able to successfully brand a product from the beginning, it will be to your financial benefit.
Finally, how does your product make your customers feel?
Students in their new, clean, uncreased kicks (sneakers or tennies (lol) feel “special.” Not every kid has a new pair every day. There are other kids who envy them. They aren’t just shoes. They’re status symbols.
What does your product do for the prospect? Does it make them feel smarter, better looking, cool, thinner, or stronger? All of these are great motivators. Look at your product with a prospect’s eyes. Why would they feel good after they bought it? That should be part of your branding message.
We’ll talk another day about design, color, and even slogans for your brand. Today, remember these things about your brand: what you stand for, what makes you different, and how your brand makes your prospects feel.