A powerful brand stands for something people care about. It behaves like a person, with ideals, values and personality people want as their own. Building a brand is about conveying a belief system people will be drawn to in spite of the price.
In order to define what can make your brand worth it on a deeper level than rational benefits, start by understanding what the brand represents now. Rational benefits aren’t the point. If you’re the only one with a certain functional feature, well, you already know that. And if low price is how you’re keeping customers loyal, you’re buying business, not brand-building. It’s the less tangible perceptions that establish meaning and relevance especially since competitors can so quickly match products and features.
Qualitative exercises like personification and mapping can help you see the way customers see the brands in the category. Some categories are full of brands people feel are virtually the same; they can’t be distinguished in any way that defines them as brands, only as products. So you have to pay attention to subtleties. All the cues conveyed by graphics, tone of voice, your website and the style and functionality of all those things you may think don’t matter do actually contribute to perceptions of what kind of person the brand is. Your brand may be conveying a belief system that you’re unaware of.
Build on your difference
Pay attention to what customers perceive. The differences are what you need to build on. If customers see your brand as just the same as all the others you have some work to do. Learn what kind of belief systems your competitors have. Create a different one for your brand.
Differentiation is a key driver of a strong brand. It prevents you from being one in a group they switch among because none stands for something they really care about. Make that belief system the overriding idea for all elements of communication. Make the belief system represent ideals people want to have as their own. Ultimately they will be drawn to your brand in order to reflect the way they see themselves. The price they pay becomes secondary to what they get.
Let me know what you think.
Marketing Research Consultant