The days of noname products are long gone, and we are all surrounded by millions of brands. But why are people willing to sell organs for some goods, while others are gathering dust on the shelves?
There are practically no products left in the modern world that do not have their own brands. You will no longer find nameless goods in stores with an inscription like "Metal spoon. The price is 20 kopecks.". Each spoon has a manufacturer with a logo, slogan, and the spoon itself is not just a spoon, but a model with a thoughtful name and festive packaging. The brand has become a necessary attribute even for the simplest things like an aluminum spoon. The manufacturer, creating a brand, tries to add value to his product, and the consumer is simply not ready to buy nameless goods. In order to increase the strength of the brand, marketers create a mission, vision, think about target audiences and even compose legends.An interesting example of the legend is the French fashion brand Chevigon, named after the fictional character – pilot Charles Chevignon. All in order to give the brand an aura of romance and heroism. Agree, it's cool to wear a brand that was created not by a simple tailor, but by a war hero? But creating a brand is a really difficult thing. Let's try to figure out what a brand is and what its strength is.
What is a brand?
There are many different definitions of a brand that agree that it is a certain mental component of a product (product or service) that is formed in the consumer's mind. Yes, it sounds muddy, but now let's try to sort it out. In simple words, a brand is information about a company and its product, forming a single integral image. A kind of candy from the history of the company, its reputation, philosophy, pricing policy, wrapped in a visual image of the logo, slogan and advertising campaigns. A candy from a strong brand may actually taste the same as many others, but for some reason it's nicer to eat it, and it doesn't seem to be a sin to overpay. And, most interestingly, the queue for branded sweets is usually longer.
What's the power, brother?
So how do strong brands differ from weak ones, how does brand strength affect the price and demand for goods, and what is the real strength? In modern conditions, the brand component in the price of the product and the demand for it is as important as the real consumer properties. And if the latter are easy to compare and measure, then everything is somewhat more complicated with the brand. The brand component can be divided into objective and mental properties of the brand.
<figure> <img data-manual-lazy src="https://api.mad7.ru/uploads/Sila_9d2a3c58b4_96b2461c13.jpg" alt="Brand Value Structure"> <figcaption>Brand Value Structure</figcaption> </figure>
The objective properties of the brand are the history of the company, its reputation, status (prestige) – that is, more or less objective and real components that can be compared and measured. Mental properties of the brand. This is where the magic begins. This part of the brand makes us stand in line for iPhones, buy Swarovski jewelry and Tissot watches. Who is our product for: rebels or creators? What is our company's mission: to make the world a better place or to highlight individuality? For the rich or the poor? Or for everyone? Why should the consumer join the brand? We must give the consumer the answers to these questions. It is quite difficult to say what the specific secret of each strong brand is, but they all have one thing in common – they want to join them. And everyone wants to join very strong brands, regardless of their status and financial situation.
Examples of strong brands
Where without him. Everyone wants an iPhone and a MacBook. On the day of the start of sales, crowds of people take turns to be able to overpay for an already expensive phone just to be one of the first owners. There are even crazy stories of selling their own organs for an iPhone. Of course, Apple technology is not just a hyped brand, but really great devices with cool characteristics and great design. But we understand that most of the buyers of Apple equipment want it not only for this.
<figure> <img data-manual-lazy src="https://api.mad7.ru/uploads/apple_2e2299a672_0e645400a5.jpg" alt="Queue at the start of iPhone X sales at one of the official stores in Toronto"> <figcaption>Queue at the start of iPhone X sales at one of the official stores in Toronto</figcaption> </figure> </p>
What else does Apple give its owners? Mentality. Apple is for those who want to be on the crest of a wave of technological progress and style. Apple is for successful people. A businessman with Apple technology is a successful businessman. A designer with an aimak is a real pro. Chikulya with an iPhone is a real star. All these properties are perfectly emphasized by bright presentations, competent marketing and real innovations. For example, Apple's new face ID technology has not only improved its real characteristics, but also confirmed the company's image as one of the most innovative on the market.
Another example of a surprisingly strong brand. Is Starbucks coffee tastier than other coffee shops? No, it's just great coffee. Maybe they have the best desserts? Not either. All desserts are about the same quality as, for example, in Costa. But everyone wants to go to Starbucks. And these people are comfortable together. Go to any Starbucks coffee shop and look at the people in the queue: there will be a top manager from a large company and a student who came to study in Moscow from the provinces.
<figure> <img data-manual-lazy src="https://api.mad7.ru/uploads/Kofejnya_Starbucks_a2d0e27273.jpeg" alt="Starbucks Coffee Shop"> <figcaption>Starbucks Coffee Shop</figcaption> </figure> </p>
One day, my colleagues and I were talking about coffee at work, in particular about the Starbucks chain, and one of my employees, hearing this, began to admire: "Yes, Starbucks is the coolest coffee shop." I asked her, "What city were you in at Starbucks?". "I haven't been there, I just like them," she replied. Magic, no other way. Probably, even the leaders of the company will not be able to give a clear answer, what exactly is their secret. Everything is made up of details: a good product, proper positioning, a good business model, competent marketing and work with staff. The desire to join your brand, become a part of it, give money for it and drag new adherents into your sect – these are indicators of brand strength.
Shark in the desert
Even very strong brands should be extremely careful to enter someone else's territory, since there their strength can be multiplied by zero. Brand strength most often works only in certain markets. The great white shark is the most dangerous predator in the ocean. But what happens if this monster decides to expand its possessions and gets out to the African coast? He will die and become food for hyenas. And even if our fish suddenly realizes that it has done something wrong, it will not be so easy to crawl to the water. The same thing is happening in the market of goods and services. Even very strong brands should be extremely careful to enter someone else's territory, since there their strength can be multiplied by zero. Would you buy a chainsaw from Apple? I doubt. And you will look at iPhones with caution after you see a lawn mower with a bitten apple. Brand strength most often works only in certain markets.
A brand is that magical substance that connects your product and your consumers. It requires gentle handling. Allow a marriage in the main product – your brand will suffer, and it will be very difficult to wash your reputation. The strength of the brand is the result of long and painstaking work, correct decisions and mistakes. And if people want to be part of your brand, want to be its bearers and preachers, then your brand is certainly strong.