Ever been to a party where you don’t know anyone?
This is the consumer world in which we all live and struggle for attention. Our products and services suffer the same psychological anguish all the time. Who knows us? Who wants to get to know us? Why will someone pick up your product in Walmart? Why will someone try on your shirt in Saks Fifth Avenue? Is it because your product is just so much better than any other?
Your shirt may be the hottest thing on the market today, but no one knows it until they pick it up and try it on. Once they do, they may well be convinced. But how we do we get them to make the initial move?
Branding is about the moment BEFORE they pick it up, before they try it on.
This is not about marketing blitzes or ad campaigns – both marketing and advertising need to have an object to promote. The brand is that object. It is an entity with a character and personality. It stands for certain things. It has a purpose. Without doing the work of establishing your brand, you might find that marketing and advertising do it for you.
Your advertising campaign has the goal of attracting consumers to your product, your service. They do it by appealing to base emotions – hope, love, fear – and using tried-and-true delivery methods – laughter, sentimentality, suspense. All of these are gimmicks that can overshadow your product and can take it over.
So, does a quality product sell itself?
The answer is provisionally Yes. Once the product is in the hands of the consumer and the experience is augmented by his or her awareness of the brand, then it does sell itself. But before getting to that stage, there is a longer road to travel. Building a brand and its identity takes time and careful consideration, but it will be well worth the effort when your brand stands out from the masses.
With the right branding, everyone at that party knows you before you arrive!