So what is a Brand?

Many business owners often confuse the idea of a product and a brand.  Put simply, Products exist to expand choice while Brands exist to simplify choice.

Think about this scenario for a minute – If you’re stood in front of a fixture in a store, you will be confronted with a seemingly endless choice of products, be they running shoes or washing powder. You have a huge selection of products to chose from within that category. You see, that’s what I mean when I say Products expand choice.

But if you go in with a predetermined idea that you are going to buy Nike shoes or Tide washing powder, then your ‘emotional’ connection to that brand has narrowed your options – Brands simplify choice.

“But wait!” you cry, “I don’t have an emotional attachment to washing powder or running shoes!” – Well you might be in the minority, but I’m afraid most of us probably do.

Brands are fundamentally emotional because they seek to persuade you by the pull of what they stand for; think about it a moment – Nike tempts its target audience with the promise of fitness and an athletic lifestyle – Just Do It!   That’s why many people if they can afford it, and often even those who can’t, make the ‘emotional’ choice and pick the $120 running shoes with the tick  over a pair of very similar (in terms of features) $40 non-branded shoes. That’s the emotional pull of the Brand.

A Product is fundamentally rational because it seeks to persuade by its features, not the lifestyle it can offer you! The $40 pair probably still has the air cushioned sole and the waterproof lining, but they don’t carry the promise of fitness and athleticism, or the tick !  Those shoes won’t allow you to be seen to ‘Just do it!’  And let’s face it, they were probably both made on the same exploitative production line somewhere, but let’s not get into that!

So when thinking about your business or your product, you need to ensure that you, your website, your copy and all your marketing communications create that emotional connection with your target audience, because that’s what will start to turn your Product into a Brand, and increase the loyalty of your customers.