A brand is an illusion; a perception in the mind of a consumer.
Every consumer is different, so a brand can mean one thing to one person and something totally different to another.
Consider some examples:
If you drink red wine, and maybe have a glass every day, do you buy the same brand every time or do you try different reds? Do you drink a red because you heard it was good for you? Some of you may enjoy how you feel after a glass or two. All red wines are perceived to – in a branding sense – have medicinal purposes or go good with certain foods. If you, as the consumer, lock in and buy cases from a certain winery, you have bought the illusion it’s the best red wine … in your mind.
What convinced you it’s the brand to buy? Was it a commercial or advertising message? Was it an influential bartender? A good friend who also loves it? The perception that you should at least try the brand, followed by a bottle you really enjoyed, are the steps that would have created your brand loyalty.
My grandfather drove a Ford automobile. My uncle managed a fleet of vehicles for a multi-national company; all Fords. My dad drove Fords, although he was the trading sort and brought home a variety of makes and models over the years. This family history created the impression with me that Ford was the vehicle to own, so I’ve been loyal to the brand because of that perception. Three of the vehicles I’ve purchased new have been Mercury products; a former, now defunct, division of the Ford Motor Company. The kicker is that the illusion has stuck, largely because of history.
Yes, a brand is an association with a corporate product or service. Business owners will pay exorbitant fees to a big name accounting firm because of a perception, which might be that “they must be good because they charge so much.” In reality, accounting is about debits and credits so any certified public accountant (CPA) should be able to service your account as well, if not better, than the higher priced firm.
Is one brand of milk any better than the next one in the cooler? Only in perception … and probably price. Think about it. Where does the milk come from? A cow. What the cow eats may change the content of the milk, but it comes out the same way and is processed and bottled according to federal standards. And here’s a secret that applies to other products as well: Some milk processing plants bottle milk for a private label as well as for their own label.
From a business marketing perspective, the more people you can convince that your illusion – your brand – is what they should believe in, purchase, and remain loyal to as long at they need or want it, the greater will be the profits on your bottom line.
Illusions can work like magic if you create the right ones. That’s where professional help such as Brand Irons comes in, to strategize and help you create the most effective marketing for your product and services.