What does your brand mean to your customers?

Brand is a word that’s used widely but often inaccurately.  Is the product you sell or the service you offer a brand?  Brands produce/reinforce perceptions, they create an emotive response, positive or negative and for their customers, they generate a relationship.  Giving something a name is not creating a brand.

If you have or own a brand then you should know how it’s perceived, right?  You should understand the emotive response your customers or target customers have to it and the strength of relationship your customers have with it.  Is your brand considered modern or traditional? Pretentious or unassuming? Unique or ordinary? Exclusive or inclusive?

True brands need to measure perceptions, positioning and emotional response in order to grow, develop and profit.

The buying process for many consumers is about reflecting or creating an image.  Owning a particular brand of clothing, sunglasses or a make/model of car delivers the suggestion that they themselves are modern, creative, fashionable, sexy or whichever other attributes might be ‘aligned’ to those brands.

For companies, owning a brand that can deliver a sense of ‘belonging’ or ‘becoming – e.g. aspiration’ can be hugely rewarding.  However, retaining those values through development and/or diversification is also very important.  We can all name brands that have shaped their sector at one point in time only to fall completely out of favour because of a lack of brand development.

Philip Kotler (the ‘grand-daddy’ of marketing principle and author of over 50 books on the subject) once said “The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low-cost producer is the only winner.”

So as marketers, how do we build engaging and/or aspirational brands? Knowing how your customers think your brand compares to competitive brands is a good place to start.  With this understanding of customer perceptions you can begin to understand what proportion of customer engagement is based on brand positioning.

On top of this, understanding which competitors you’re compared with and if selected, why they’re chosen instead of yours is also invaluable.  There’s more to great brand measurement than meets the eye, getting beneath the skin of the emotional response to brands requires a skilled practitioner.  Great qualitative researchers with brand experience can quickly grasp the feelings, desires and reactions that your brand creates for its’ customers and target customers alike.

If reading this post has made you think about your brands or products and you have any comments or questions, please do get in touch.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jonathan

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