Why do brands matter to a consumer?

In today’s world where markets are flushed with hundreds of thousands of brands of products be it bottled water, cereals or shampoo for that matter, it becomes daunting for consumers to identify and choose the one that fits their image of a perfect brand in that category?

According to Philip Kotler, the father of Modern Marketing, “A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, or design or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competitor.” Sure, these visual symbols are important for consumers to identify brands. Who doesn’t recognize the golden arches of McDonald’s from a distance? But in our opinion, what differentiates one brand from another is the emotional connection that one can establish with its end-consumers.

A brand without a connect is just a name. It promises its consumers to deliver positive experiences, comfort and happiness and lives up to their expectations without fail with sincerity and consistency. The consumer starts trusting the brand and becomes loyal to it. For example, Domino’s pizza promises its patrons to deliver pizzas within 30 minutes of placing the order. If it fails to keep its promise, the pizza comes free to the consumers or at a substantially reduced cost depending on the value of the order. The promise of Domino’s on-time delivery of pizzas brings peace of mind to the consumers setting them free.

Seth Godin, the author of Linchpin, has put this perspective so aptly when he says, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

Top 3 reasons why brands fail?

There can be many reasons why brands may fail but we will pin-point 3 most important ones here:

1.Poor product

A brand may fail because of the poor quality of the product it offers that does not live up to the promise that it makes. For example, Tata Nano promised a small budget car for a small middle-class family but it failed miserably in its looks and performance.

2.Complacency

When brands have tasted success for a long time and become complacent, they fail to study their competitors and fail to innovate. This is what happened with the mobile phone brand Nokia which was at the top of its game in 1998. Between 2007, when Apple launched its iPhone, and 2010, Nokia’s market value had declined by 90%.

3.Failure to study market

A successful brand like Kellogg’s failed initially in the Indian market because it did not do its homework properly. It is designed to be had with cold milk but Indians usually boil the milk in the mornings. This turns the crispy corn flakes soggy. Also, Indians usually indulge in a heavy breakfast, and having cereals in milk leaves them forever hungry.

Top 3 strategies to reinvent your BRAND

Re-inventing your brand can be a tricky job. When Coca-Cola was losing out its market share to Pepsi because of the latter’s innovative marketing strategies and better taste, instead of enhancing their marketing efforts, Coca Cola came up with ‘New Coke’ with better taste. This failed since consumers could not relate to their new brand position.

If you are considering reinventing your brand, you can choose to take the following steps:

1.Carry out a market survey

This is to know what are your customers/ consumers expecting from you because it’s them who have to ultimately like and accept your new brand. This can be done on various social media platforms.

2.Consider re-naming, changing visual appeal or a complete repositioning of your brand

For example, Domino’s removed pizza from their brand name to position themselves as a pizza delivery company rather than a pizza maker.

You can also choose a new tag line or a new logo to appeal to the younger generation. Another great example could be of Lego the international brand for children’s toys. It re-positioned itself in 2011 when it came out with its line called Lego friends to appeal to little girls and break its image as a boy’s toy brand. In 2014, Lego could surpass Mattel’s barbie doll.

3.Communicate the changes to your consumers

Your new brand image should not come as a shock to your consumers. Therefore, it is equally important to market your new brand and communicate to your consumers why you have changed and how will these changes benefit them. Also, update your websites and social media pages and keep measuring the impact of your new strategies.

Re-branding or re-inventing your brand can help you keep abreast of your competition, gain back the lost market share, increase your revenues and take your brand to a whole new level.

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