At this very moment, there are more businesses in operation than at any other time in human history. As barriers to entry into the marketplace continue to decrease, new brands will continue to come into being. The emergence of a tsunami of fresh products and small businesses is a clear signal that it’s time to get serious about transcending the commodity market.
Commodities are products that can easily be substituted one for another. Essentially, they’re items for which a demand exists, but there’s no qualitative difference across a marketplace. If your soap/greeting cards/candles/jewelry/apparel is viewed by consumers as a commodity, then it can easily be passed over for another option that’s cheaper and more readily available. Being perceived as a commodity is the kiss-of-death for creative products.
Brands, on the other hand, create differentiated products that are highly desired by their customer base. Brand customers have a degree of loyalty, seeking out these specific products in the marketplace, and they’re less likely to substitute products based on price and availability.
WAIT… DID YOU CATCH THAT?
Building a strong, effective brand creates loyal customers. These customers don’t have a wandering eye that’s tempted by the lower price or wider availability of other products. Not only that, but these cats are genuinely excited to spread your message to their friends and family. Since they understand your product’s inherent value and crave the experience that only you can deliver, they’re happy to pay premium prices for your offering.
Here’s the hard truth: Creating beautiful and functional products isn’t enough to become competitive in the modern marketplace. Those products are simply the price of entry to the market. To build a brand that’s poised for sustainable growth, you must clearly define your core values, understand your audience, cultivate powerful emotional resonance, and develop memorable customer experiences.
I’ve been tilling this fertile ground for more than a decade, studying the mechanics of brand-building and creating a few wildly successful brands of my own. I’ve had the honor of coaching several hundred brands as they build effective brand architecture and I’d love to do the same for you, too.