Actually, I’ll pause right there, because, as I’ve talked about before, there is so much incorporated in that one little phrase. It’s the entirety of your company’s reputation, everything that is in people’s minds when they think of you. What does and what doesn’t comprise that image, though? Unsurprisingly, misunderstandings about marketing can really get in the way of a business owner’s ability to do it well.
Now, I’ve recently come across an exploration of whether a company’s product – or service, as the case may be – is the company’s brand, or at least one of its brands. Certainly, that’s a reasonable idea. We speak of things like, what brand of TV we watch, or what brand of cereal we eat, or what brand of clothes we wear…so it does seem like the product and the brand are, to some degree, synonymous. You might refer to what brands a company has in its portfolio of offerings.
Here’s something to consider, though: if branding is everything that the public thinks and feels about your company – the intangible, the abstract – then how can your tangible deliverables be a part of that? Consider, for a moment, companies that expand into a completely new field of products, or that must move beyond their founding offering, and that in so doing carry their established image – their established brand – over to their new offerings. Japan is well known for giant umbrella corporations that produce and sell everything from jet skis to musical instruments, to construction equipment, to computers, all under one label – one that is recognized for its across-the-board reputation and identity.
To be sure, though, a company’s products and services can definitely be among the factors that influence public opinion. Turn out enough negative product reviews, or more than one or two grand-scale lemons, and your company will be thought of as a lemon producer and a business that cares more about a quick buck than about quality and customer service. The delivery and the deliverer, however, are separate concepts from that which is being delivered. Both are important, and neither should be dismissed, but they should be considered as two aspects of your company, not one and the same. Your company (hopefully) seeks to bring the very best products and services to the market, but as it does so, be sure to tend to the brand that overarches them all. If you don’t, it won’t matter what you have to sell; no one will want to buy any of it.
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