Stop pushing products, start branding

Are you just another commodity?

Far too many companies are caught in commodity hell as they haven’t figured out why their customers should buy their product or service over the competitors. Sales personnel often struggle when pushed by savvy buyers to answer one very straight forward and simple question – “what makes you different”.

The default answer is typically our quality is great, or we have short lead times, or we don’t outsource our work etc etc. These answers don’t cut it, they are not compelling enough and are prerequisites to even get you in front of the buyer in the first place. There are very few companies in the world today that have a monopoly as substitutes exist for every good product or service. A company’s ability to achieve a price premium for its product or service lies in its ability to identify its unique point of difference, its core value proposition and then to build its brand around this. In order to build a successful brand, a company must first understand where it needs to be positioned in the market and where its products are in their life cycle.

Brand Positioning

Positioning is about how you differentiate yourself from your competitors in the mind of your prospective customer. This isn’t something that you decide sitting around a board room table. It requires rolling up the sleeves and getting close to your customers to help understand their pain points, their challenges, how they experience your business and what trends they’re adopting. Branding then takes this another step further by developing a clear strategy to help generate and build demand for your product and service.

To achieve long term sustainable growth the trick is to build demand for your brand rather than for your product. Just look at Apple and Google if you need an example of how powerful and valuable a brand can be? Interbrand have just released their report which shows Apple for the fourth year in a row claiming the top position as their brand value grew by 5% to $178,119m. Google’s brand value rose 11 percent to USD $133,252m.