Why Branding Matters: Understanding Consumer Preferences
All businesses have a product that consumers can invest in. All of the available products have a fair amount of marketable potential. But, not all products and businesses have the same level of support from their prospective and current consumers. How is that so? Read Why Branding Matters: Understanding Consumer Preferences to learn about the qualities that consumers look for in a brand.
Meet the Ideal Customer
Imagine shopping online for a bag. Would you choose Prada or Gucci? Or, do you prefer buying an Olsenboye item instead? The customers’ identity, purpose, budget, and taste all have a say when choosing a product. The same applies when they choose to buy from your company.
Selling products isn’t as easy as the act of handing out flyers and other promotional ads. It requires specific knowledge as to who your customer is, what he is looking for, and why he is looking for that item. You can have an idea, launch that idea, but how much do you exactly know about it? Many times we can get too excited with launching our own business without knowing what we really want to achieve.
“The art of marketing is largely the art of brand building. When something is not a brand, it will be probably be viewed as a commodity.” -Philip Kotler
Being viewed as a commodity isn’t quite attractive. That means being unimportant. Are you? Is your product or business worth buying? With this stands the importance of knowing your ideal customer. When you see a clear picture of your target market, it won’t be very challenging for you to identify what they want in return. That way you get to improve your business and make them remember what you stand for.
1. Who do you want to buy your product?
In the previous post, we learned about specifying a mission statement to know where your business is heading. It includes the importance of knowing the people that you intend to sell to.
Regardless of whether your business is open to anyone anywhere—you may be selling something that everyone needs, you still have to identify what people want. You can’t offer the same amount of salt to a table of mixed individuals. For this, you can list down your ideal customer’s favorites and relevant background.
Invest a sufficient amount of time researching the market of your choice. Get to know who they are—gender, race, age, hobbies, profession, culture, environment, beliefs, and all things relevant.
2. What purpose does the customer have in mind?
There are many possible reasons as to why people would want to buy from you. They could be looking for something to give, decorate, eat, distribute, or anything else they have in mind. On your end, ask yourself how you would be able to cater to that need. Will your business be the perfect match for them? You cannot be all things to everyone at the same time though. But, you can come up with a strategy that will provide the best possible solution in fulfilling the greatest demands of your target market.
3. How much will people be willing to invest?
Your ideal customers can come from a variety of economic backgrounds. What’s affordable for one may not be affordable to others. How much should your product be? Pricing your products irrationally high can shy away potential customers. On the other hand, pricing your products irrationally low can be risky as well. Either way leaves room for people to doubt your worth.
Come up with an agreeable amount. Get to know how much your target market can pay for the same quality product you provide.
4. Are you appealing enough to customers?
When you already know your mission and ideal customers, the next step would be to market your business in the most effective way possible.
With your customers’ identities in mind, you can come up with a viable strategy that will match their preferences as well as your goals in business. Think about how they can identify with your output, which includes your product’s design, layout, and end purpose.
The Significance of Branding
Your brand is your company’s identity. To many people, it is what you represent as a whole. Think about this: when we say Coca-Cola, we think about a refreshing drink. When we say Japan, many would think about cherry blossoms or advanced technology. How about you? What would people think about when they hear your company’s name?
This is branding. It sets you uniquely apart from similar offers in the industry. What people think about your brand or identity tells a lot about the kind and quality of the service you provide.
“Branding is everything; companies live or die on the strength of their brand.” -Matt Haig
There can be a lot of brands for one type of product. Apparently, the one that stands out the most has the best offer in the market when it comes to quality and cost. Cost-efficiency. How is your brand’s reputation? Here are some possible reasons why people would love it:
1. Your brand has the people’s trust.
Trust is security. It is the knowing that what you have is reliable and would not do anything that would disappoint you on a major scale. Consumers know what you’re about and are familiar with you. They’re positive that you are the best choice they have for their specific purpose in mind. In the long run, you’ll be happy to find faithful supporters that would willingly promote your brand to others.
2. Your brand gives value to people.
The quality you provide also promotes your consumers as individuals. It can add value to their personal ideals, social status, or overall identity. How they want to be perceived helps them decide whether they would choose your brand or not. The good thing about this is it promotes high-quality service in the market, thus, encouraging brands to do well in the industry they belong.
3. Your brand stands out.
What do you have that other brands lack? Consumers can easily get lost in a myriad of possibilities. To help them, your brand needs to show them the best way out. When choosing between items in the market, do you just pick anything that’s inexpensive? Think of the possible factors that could attract people. Let them know why they should choose you. Find ways to clearly incorporate your mission.
Branding on the Internet
The internet is a great place to share your business to people. Internet branding, as it is called, enables you to make your mark, carry out your mission, and preserve your brand in the long run. It gives you a wider variety of consumers, and allows you to extend and expand your business to those you never even thought possible. Among the ways that you can achieve these are:
- Putting up your own website
- Making use of social media
- Securing testimonials
- Cooperating with brand ambassadors
- Writing a blog
- Making collaborations
There are other more specific methods available. In the end, you would want something that efficiently promotes your identity.
Think about how you can be of better service to your consumers. After all, your product is mainly about their particular interests and purposes. And, it is from them that you would be able to generate better ideas and profits.
In any situation, putting your brand above any other strategy will help you decide on better ways to promote it.
Brand Failure and Its Cost
You can never go wrong in putting up something that you’ve diligently and carefully planned. Even in the most unlikely circumstances, failure is still possible.
“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.” -Joe Frazier
Setting aside enough time to layout your vision and goals will always be beneficial on your part. It is what we can consider the act of building a stable foundation for your business—for your brand.
In closing, remember when Gap decided to change their logo. Within a week, their brand became an unpopular choice. Did they lack planning? Where did they fail? In their attempt to generate new logo ideas from the public, they did not expect the reaction they’d get even from their avid supporters.
At some point, businesses may need to rebrand for a variety of reasons. But, doing so has significant risks involved. Avoid allowing fear to stray you from the important things you need to fulfill for your brand. Sometimes all you need is time to sift things through. And, patience is a virtue that you can achieve in the process.
Overall, whatever industry you’re in, establishing your brand is critical in achieving that success you desire. Be aware of the happenings in your niche. Know your ideal customers, and create the best possible strategy to deliver your mission and preserve your message.
If you have comments, questions or suggestions about Why Branding Matters: Understanding Consumer Preferences, leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!