We see it all the time, an exciting startup with a great product, but before we know it, it fizzles out. Why? A great product is essentially a non-starter if you can’t get it out to client, and with all the choice we have today, we have to ask the question… do your customers truly care if a product is the best on the market?
Ok, so perhaps a slightly controversial statement as without a product or service you have no business regardless of how cool your brand is, so let me make a small amendment to that notion… “your brand and marketing IS more important than your product, at least in the beginning and at other various stages in your company’s lifespan”. Better?
Now don’t get me wrong, as an entrepreneur and brand and marketing consultant I can appreciate the power of a useful, unique or innovative product, sadly that isn’t how the market works. Truth be told they only semi-give a sh*t about your product or service. Not that your customers are fine with receiving something sub-par or even misleading, it’s just that they assume that your product will do what it says it will, that it serves a purpose and does it well. Fair enough too, we as a society are so used to instant gratification, have used a whole bunch of things that work, sometimes really well and by virtue of the standards we are held to in an age of technology, superior service and customer comes first attitude, we expect things to work, simple.
So let’s say we look at a hypothetical company’s product or service, and let’s say that they aren’t introducing a revolutionary offering to the world or their industry, and they are merely innovating within their field or doing things better/differently. We can assume that their product works and would only discover the level of the effectiveness of the service/product offering once being exposed to it. Easy enough? Except for the fact that their customer’s choice is based on many factors, most importantly perception. How their customer perceives the company is a make or break element in the process. Simply put, a powerful innovative product or superior and more effective service, is incapable of converting a customer (at least affordably and sustainably) without developing well thought out, strategic brand awareness and communication. If your competitors are putting out strategic brand awareness, great content, and effective communication, coupled with an exceptional brand, they will capture your potential customers, not because of a better product, but purely by being top of mind and looking more professional.
If your competitors are putting out strategic brand awareness, great content, and effective communication, coupled with an exceptional brand, they will capture your potential customers, not because of a better product, but purely by being top of mind and looking more professional.
As mentioned in the beginning, you can’t weasel your way into the hearts of consumers by delivering sub-par services and expecting loyalty. While your brand and communication inspire action from the public, your product solidifies them as clients and your customer service, ability to adapt and competitive pricing strategies retain them in the long term.
Being honest with yourself, your company and in identifying exactly what it is you are selling…
Even when your product or service is superior, it doesn’t guarantee you market share, as marketing influences consumers. Brand loyalty plays a massive part in the decision making of consumers, however, that loyalty is often on a tightrope, with modern consumers happy to move to a competitor if something appeals to them. The cheaper but often just as effective Chinese and Korean smartphone manufacturers cannot hold a candle to the loyalists of Apple and Samsung who will gladly pay more based on popularity, brand appeal and overall perceptions the brand and their loyal consumers have created. This is the space in each industry a brand wants to own.
They say that by the time you realise you need a haircut, everyone else has too. The same thing applies to your brand. A scruffy brand doesn’t inspire, it does the opposite in fact. The success of your brand is directly linked to the quality of your communication and the effectiveness of your marketing. Do it properly, build an inspirational brand, make some noise and then let your product and service do the real talking.