Branding is a great way to add value to your products or service. In fact, I would say that it is the number 1 way to separate your products from becoming a commodity.
You could be upcycling, buying-to-sell, creating something new from scratch, or even selling yourself! The same principles apply. You could even be selling the same exact thing as somebody else! Honestly it doesn’t really matter what you are marketing, the most important thing is to separate yourself from your competition.
The only sure-fire way to separate yourself or your products is through branding. In this article I am going to explain to you the different types of value that you add by creating a solid brand.
Elements of a Brand
The following is a list of some elements to focus on when building a brand:
- Cause Association
- Community Efforts
All of these elements must align when establishing a quality brand. You cannot have marketing that doesn’t corelate with your community efforts. All elements within a brand need to work together seamlessly.
How Branding Helps you Increase Prices
Why are people willing to spend more on a shampoo with a certain label on it over another that does essentially the same thing? There is a lot that goes into a purchasing decision. Does it smell better? Is the packaging more eye catching?
A commodity is defined as “a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee.”
So how can one coffee be priced at $1.50 and another coffee be priced at $5.50? The answer is simple. Brand. Sure, one may taste different than the other, but the simple fact is that coffee is coffee. The way to get your products or service separated from simple commodity economics is to create a well-established, trustworthy brand. Starbucks coffee offers an environment including a status symbol that is completely different than your local gas station coffee.
The separation of prices becomes synonymous with the brand associated with it. Quality is oftentimes seen in terms of pricing. If you determine that your products or service are worthy of a higher price point, prove it through differentiation. Taste, environment, smell, technique, are all ways you can differentiate your products or service. Teach people the difference about your brand by including it on your labels, tags, or website.
You can’t just put the price higher and hope that people will be willing to pay for it without any sort of reasoning or differentiation behind it.
How Branding Builds Loyalty
Humans, by nature, become attached to certain things. Once we try it and like it we tend to pick that product again over others when given the choice. Once you have established a trusted relationship with your customers, you add value by creating a life-long relationship.
With so many commodities out there in the world to choose from, how is it possible that a company like Coca-Cola can retain the top spot in the cola industry? The answer is brand loyalty. Sure they have more money than god, but the marketing that they have done has attached Coca-Cola to more than just soda. You see the logo and you automatically get reminded of good times.
It is significantly better for your business to focus more effort on retaining customers than finding new ones. Your brand needs to stick in people’s minds and remind them of something. This is an element and good side-effect of quality branding efforts.
It can be overwhelming establishing a new brand. The most important thing, in my mind, is to just start and develop things as you go. My advice to you is to take it one step at a time. It takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself as a quality, trusted, differentiated brand.
Avoid becoming the “cheapest” option out there. This can be a good way to get exposure without any effort but will have a lot of negative consequences including becoming an unbranded commodity. Over time people have no choice but to assume your products or services are cheap and will eventually go with a different option.
Time and effort are very hard to quantify until you reach the point of becoming a well-established trustworthy brand. Then, and only then, will you see the added values of branding. Put a tag on it.
-Much Love, Ian Drake- Diversity Consignment