Do you know what a brand is? What makes a brand special? What makes it different from another brand? And how do you know whether you need one or not?
What Is A Brand?
Many people think a brand is a logo. It’s not. A logo is part of a brand, but it isn’t THE brand. A brand is comprised of many different components which create a certain perception of your company, products and services in the mind of a customer.
To illustrate this, think about two brands of tennis shoes – Nikes and Keds. What images come to your mind? If you could purchase only one pair of shoes, which ones would you prefer? The Nike brand is associated with action (Just Do It), while the Keds brand is associated with practicality and a cheaper price. And while the logo may come to your mind when you think of the brand, it probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you are considering a purchase.
So, what is a brand? It is the perception of the customer – the totality of what they think of your company and your products or services. That is the heart of a brand.
What Makes A Brand Special?
A brand is only helpful to you if it distinguishes your company from another company that offers a similar product or service. For example, Nordstrom and Macy’s are both department stores which mainly offer clothing. But, one of these stores is not like the other. Why? The stores cross over in some of the clothing styles and brands they offer. You can find Karen Kane designs in both stores. And both stores have items in the same price range. So what’s the difference?
The difference here is in the experience. You will have a very different shopping experience at Nordstrom than you will at Macy’s. Nordstrom’s stores are generally much nicer than Macy’s, and many of their stores now have a cafe on site, and some also offer a coffee bar and bistro. Nordstrom is a place where you come in, browse, take your time, eat something, and browse some more. You shop at Macy’s, but you experience something special at Nordstrom.
What makes a brand special? That which sets it apart from other brands. And this can be any number of things from price to products to customer service to all of the above.
Do You Need A Brand For Your Booklets?
The truth is, once your booklets are on the market your brand is already being created in the minds of your customers. All you can do is try to shape the concept your market has of you to your advantage.
There are many ways you can do this. One thing that is very common, especially with large companies, is to use a celebrity to endorse a product. This works extremely well because the public has such a high opinion of celebrities. But, this isn’t the only way that companies set themselves apart from each other.
If you’ve spent any time at all in front of the TV, you’ve probably watched a commercial or two. In those commercials, companies extol the virtues of their products and services. They will tell you what a great value their product is and why, or they’ll tell you what a great job it does as opposed to the competition. Or they’ll tell you how their product can revolutionize your life. Infomericals are great at this.
Having a brand isn’t a question of need. You have a brand whether you want one or not. It’s just a question of what your brand conveys to your audience. Are you Wal-Mart or Nordstrom? Nike or Keds? Or are you somewhere in between?
Give it some serious thought. Think about how you want your company and your products to be percieved. And don’t worry. Your brand will change over time. Nordstrom started out as a shoe store, but nobody thinks of them that way today. Your brand will evolve as you go.
To your riches!
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