Thoughts on Branding

Take the time to consider how you make purchasing decisions and apply this to your own marketing.

I recently watched a documentary which revealed that Touchstone Pictures is actually owned by Disney. Keeping Touchstone separate allows Disney to produce popular entertainment without damaging its image as a squeaky clean family corporation. The same documentary pointed out that in the past, the worth of a company was measured in cash and stock. Today a name and logo can be worth billions. I started to wonder how my daily decisions are affected by branding.

So this morning I took a tour of my house and was interested to see how branding affects my purchases.

I came to the following conclusions about my purchasing decisions:

Brand vs Price

If I am deciding between two products with the same features and a similar price, brand will be the deciding factor.
Recently we bought a new TV, and a Sony was the winner, even though there was another TV with the same features for a similar price.

If I am happy with a particular brand, I will stay loyal to it even if it becomes slightly more expensive than competing products.
When we bought our freezer, we bought a Fisher & Paykel, partly because we have been so happy with our washing machine.

By the same token, if there are significant cost savings to be had, I will try a new brand.
A few years ago when I needed a new laptop for work, we bought an ASUS laptop. At the time I had not heard of ASUS, but it was much cheaper than the leading brands.

Brand can be as important with small purchases as with large purchases.
I always buy Noble Rise bread, even though I could save a dollar a loaf with home brand bread.

Brand purchasing is habit forming.
Every week I buy Mil Lel mozzarella cheese, ColdPower washing powder, Nestle kids yoghurt and Kleenex tissues. I don't even bother to compare prices.

Brand has no effect on some purchases.
When it comes to juice, I'll buy whatever is cheapest.

Brand Quality

When deciding between brands, I will consider what I perceive to be the quality of the brand, and the support I expect to receive if I encounter any problems.
When we selected a web hosting company, we knew that we could get much cheaper hosting overseas, but felt there was value in the support we could access with a local company.

If I have had a bad experience with a particular brand, I will never use it again.
When we purchased both our phone and our printer, it was a case of "anything but the brand we used to have".

Brand Recommendations

I will take the recommendation of a friend or family member over any marketing message that I see or hear.
Just look at my toothpaste choices.

I realized how important it is that any company work to ensure that its customers recognise it and associate its brands with quality and cost effectiveness.

As a marketer, the lessons that I can learn are:

  • If my brand is unknown, I must differentiate myself to obtain new customers
  • I should ensure that my brand is clearly defined and easy to remember
  • Even if my brand is well known, I must ensure that the quality of my products is such that my brand has a good name
  • I should encourage my happy customers to tell their friends about my brand

With email specifically I can:

  • Encourage readers to forward my messages to others
  • Use email to build a brand image and loyalty to my brand
  • Ensure that all communication from my business is consistent with my brand.

This month I would invite you to tour your own home or office, and consider what impacts your brand and product choices. Talk to your family and friends and find out what motivates their purchases. Then take what you have learned and apply it to your own marketing.

Above all, remember that it is much easier to convince consumers that you are the best if you actually are the best. All the marketing dollars in the world cannot turn a poor product into a quality product.