5 minutes read

Having a business that sells a product or a service doesn’t mean that you now have a logo. And if you design a logo, create a Facebook page or launch a website it doesn’t mean you have a brand either.

What is a brand?

If you go to Google and look up the word “brand” you will notice that the results you get are talking about the symbols, a name or a term that distinguishes a product from the other.

According to Wikipedia, a brand is:

“…a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. Brands are used in business, marketing and advertising”.

Well, it’s somehow similar to what I told you, right?

But that doesn’t mean it is 100% accurate. Why? The funny thing is that nowadays everyone that owns a company thinks they also have a brand. Or that because they do something special for this world, have their own blog, have their own Twitter account, they have a personal brand.

I found a more specific definition about the brand and maybe you should consider this instead of the Wikipedia or Google first pages search results.

“A brand is a 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 a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer”

And if you didn’t know you wrote this, let me introduce you to Seth Godin and his blog where you should go and subscribe.

But let’s get back to our topic today, why your logo or your business is not a brand?

Because there are specific elements that define your brand on the market and in the customers’ minds. Which ones are those elements and how can you know if you have a brand or not?

I want to share with you my 3 elements that will help you see if you have a brand or not.

First and most important element is:

1. The consumer

You don’t have a brand if you don’t have a consumer. Not a customer, but a consumer. So, what’s the difference between a customer and a consumer:

The Customer is the one who buys the product from a seller.

The Consumer is the one who uses the product.

So, which one do you want? A customer that comes and buys from you or a consumer that uses your product or service?

Think about it like this: the one who buys from you will not necessarily use the product as well but the one who actually uses your product or service got it from either the customer or you.

More exactly, you can rely on a consumer more than on a customer.

Not only will they tell you if your product is good or bad, but after their experience with your it, they will also try to evangelize it.

When talking about a consumer they will use your product daily, that meaning they already think about your product as a part of their life so here comes the first element that defines your product as a brand.

[Tweet “Make the consumer use your product every day.”]

Now, when I’m traveling by train, there are people around me that read on Kindle, listen to music and play on the phone. What do they have in common? Maybe nothing. For me, they are complete strangers, but they all have one thing in common – they use a product while traveling. And what does that mean? That that product is a brand for them. A brand that sets an expectation.

Now think about this: how many consumers do you have? How often do they use your brand on a regular basis?

And here comes the second element that differentiates your business from a product to a brand.

2. Time

Time is an important lesson every marketer should understand. Even if we live in a world where everything is moving too fast and sometimes too furious (I still love this movie).

Marketers don’t have enough patience to grow their product and let time decide whether it can be a brand or not.

And when say time I’m referring to the context where we live today.

Do you think that Facebook would have been a big brand 15 years ago? Do you think that Uber would have been a great brand 10 years ago? Do you think that iPhone 6 would have been an awesome brand 20 years ago? No. No. No.

Because you need to figure out if your product fits into today’s world and context and can meet the consumers’ expectations.

[Tweet “Your product also needs time to become a brand.”]

A certain moment when people understand that they need it in their life. A moment when the product grows and becomes mature enough for the market. A time when the community decides  “Now we have this brand and we love it”.

Give it the amount of time it needs.

Not too early and not too late.

At the perfect time the market is ready to accept it, use it and tell stories about it.

And I just mentioned the third element that makes your product a brand:

3. The market

Do you have a market for your future brand?

Isn’t there a market for every product and service? Isn’t there a market for every idea we come up with today?

No. Because the market is where you can decide your product’s price, your product’s level of trust and most of all, where you are compared to your competition.

There are 3 elements that defines a full-grown market: a consumer, a competition and a price (I’m not talking about money only. There can be other prices such as data, time, energy and so on).

[Tweet “There are 3 elements that define the market: consumer, competition and price.”]

Think about Facebook and the market they live in right now. It is a social media market where people need to stay connected with each other. It is a market where brand want to get to a bigger community by using a simpler, efficient tool. And also, it’s a market where the consumer uses the brand in a much different way than 3 or 5 years ago – from their mobile phone.

That means Facebook developed a product that can be present in the consumer’s daily life.

Another example where we can see the importance of the market in a product’s life is Uber. What does Uber sell today? Taxi services? No way. Uber sells time. The thing that everybody wants to have. Time to go to a meeting. Time to work faster. Time to stay with your beloved. Time to do whatever you want, when you want and how you want. Using the mobile app, you can get an Uber in the easiest, fastest way, right where you are. And most of all, you don’t have to think about how much money you need to give to the driver. Simple, easy and time saving.

And all of this because there is a market for Uber too. But more than that, Uber thought about this market, pushed the limit and created a product that fits that context. Uber solved a problem through the service they offer.

Conclusion

I gave you 3 simple elements to help you figure out if your product is a brand or not.

Please, try to understand that you don’t have a brand just because you pay a designer to create your logo or because you have a website.

You need to see if these 3 elements helps you become a brand or not.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a brand in the future. You just have to work harder and smarter than before.

Let me know what are your biggest struggles when it comes to turning your product into a brand. Comment in the section below and let’s work on it together!

© Pressureua | Dreamstime.com

 

Robert Katai
Robert Katai is the Product Marketing Specialist at Creatopy. His work was featured on Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other places.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like

More in Branding