3 Things to Do Before Your Company Can Call Itself a Brand

Sep 04, 2019

Article ImageWhen you hear the name Nike, you probably think of shoes. Similarly, the name Windex makes most of us think of window cleaner. What would a stranger picture when told the name of your product? At its core, a brand is the definition people hold in their minds of your company and its products. That definition is built in two ways: by what people are told, and by what they experience when they use your product.

Most Products Are Not Yet Famous Enough to Achieve Brand Status  

The term brand should not be used for a company and its products until they have reached a certain level of fame. The threshold for a product becoming a brand is debatable. However, just as it’s reasonable to say an actor who is not famous is not a celebrity, it’s also reasonable to say a company or product that is not famous is not a brand. 

There’s something about a novice marketer throwing around the word brand that makes them feel all warm and superior inside. But calling your product a brand before the masses know about it is a mistake. Not only does it sound as silly as your little-known neighbor referring to themselves as some big celebrity, but it also masks the fact that you have a lot of hard work to do before you are truly a brand. 

Be Mindful of the Innovation Adoption Curve 

Building a brand means you must cross the gap between the early adopters and the early majority. It’s much easier to get an early adopter to try a product than someone from the early majority. That's because early adopters are hardwired to try new products, and the early majority aren't. 

Early adopters’ quick attraction to the new can fool marketers into thinking they have hit on a winner. We see this all the time because we promote lots of new products.

The early majority, while interested in new products, find comfort being part of the herd. Yes, they are trendier than the late majority, but they are still part of the majority. And that's what makes them so valuable when creating a brand. They are vast in numbers and they stick with a product. And once they find a product they like, they buy it over, and over, and over again. 

How do you make the jump from the early adopters to the more lucrative early majority, where the big money is? It has everything to do with the product. Think of the promotional mix: price, product, place, and promotion. If the product doesn't have sufficient value, the early majority may try it because they see the early adopters using it, but they won’t repurchase. But if your product satisfies an ongoing need, you’re golden. 

Just remember this: The early adopter was never going to repurchase in the first place. They are always going to be on to whatever is next. They’re great for helping introduce a product to the early majority, but impossible when it comes to brand loyalty.  

Start By Creating A Brand Statement

Write down how you want your audience to define your product. This is called a Brand Statement, the bull’s eye toward which all marketing communications are aimed. 

Write your Brand Statement in the voice of a customer by imagining you are sitting in a coffee shop and overhear the two people at the next table talking. One person is explaining your product to the other and gets it exactly right. Their words come out just how you would like to hear them, and you are thrilled with their explanation.  

Target Brand Status for Your Product with Strategically Aimed Marketing 

To become a brand, your audience must internalize your messaging. The best way to do that is to make full use of each promotional mix channel. 

We encourage businesses to use a six-step marketing process called Strategically Aimed Marketing (SAM 6). This process is easy to implement, fun to follow and amazingly effective. It ensures that every marketing task is on point: It’s using the right channel to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. It’s all about making and keeping your product famous. Easy to say, tough to do. Do your block and tackling first. When you’re done with those, it’s time to get creative. To help, there are free SAM 6 marketing tools online. More complete details can also be found in the book, The CEO’s Guide to Marketing.

Media Coverage Must be Part of Your Brand-Building Strategy 

Educating your market all at once is unrealistic but to become a brand you’ll need to start somewhere. It makes sense to use promotional mix channels such as media coverage where you have the time and space to tell a persuasive story, first to the early adopters, then the early majority. Once you’ve won over the early majority, you’ve got some serious brand traction. 

Media stories are a great way to reach and teach the masses. That’s because product publicity is relatively low cost compared to other mass promotion techniques. And while a product is new, it’s especially newsworthy. 

Nothing creates more excitement than media buzz, both with customers and within a company. Everyone loves good media coverage. And today, social media channels can extend the life of your coverage every which way to Sunday. 

Some products fail to become brands simply because people just didn’t want the product. But if marketing is the problem, it can be fixed. 

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