Think Bigger Than Products to Build Your Powerful Brand
Symptom: It’s tempting to build your B2B brand around a product and a product feature. But products can be copied and they can fall out of favor, leaving your brand meaningless in the eyes of your prospects.
Let me use a couple of consumer brands to explain. Subway’s brand is built around freshness. This was brilliant. In a category known for fast, tasty, cheap and bad for you, Subway promises food that is fast, tasty, cheap and relatively good for you.
Quiznos spent millions of dollars building their brand around a product feature: their sandwiches are toasted. When Subway realized many people liked toasted sandwiches, they didn’t counter Quiznos with more TV commercials about freshness. They simply installed toasters in every store, effectively destroying Quiznos’ brand differentiator.
UNTUCKit is a shirt brand that spends gazillions of media dollars positioning their brand on a product feature: shirts cut shorter than the ones you buy now. They do have a clever fitting system and they may get traction for a while. But what if un-tucking your shirt becomes very “2017” much like flipped up collars and pulled up sleeves. Those trends certainly dropped out of fashion. Worse yet, what if other shirt makers offer “shorty” versions of all their shirts for those who want to go for the un-tucked look? That could take away UNTUCKit’s point of difference in an instant. I think they must stand for more if they want to build a sustainable brand.
You may have an exceptional product feature that attracts business today. Use that momentum to instill a bigger brand promise, one that’s based on a deeper human need. UNTUCKit could reposition themselves as the shirt brand dedicated to introducing men to the next cool style, so customers can look to them to feel on-trend and confident. Quiznos could add customizable options, like organics, grilled vegies, ethnic ingredients or specialty cheeses and upgrade their brand promise to sandwiches made the way you want them, giving customers more choices and more control.
Treatment: So, think bigger than your products and position your brand for sustainable growth.
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