Your brand is not your product: How to differentiate

When companies first launch, it can be tempting to bill your brand as the first product you sell.

Don’t give in.

Companies live and die by their ability to sell products and services, which in general are a little more easily marketed because they’re real things that solve real problems, while the brand itself is the emotion customers feel and the experience and perceptions customers have when interacting with a company.

When brand and product are working in unison, a cohesive narrative unfolds that allows the two to sit side-by-side, complementing each other to solve a problem, provide an experience and elicit an emotion.

But a brand should have more dimensionality than just a single product or offering. Although a brand may be known for its product, its story should still evolve even when the products remain the same.

Because this is such a common mistake, it’s important to outline the dos and don’ts of blurring the lines between your brand and your product.

Understand and communicate your mission and values as a company

Your core values as a company should be the springboard for expansion, growth and, ultimately, success. When you clearly identify your company’s mission, the products you create to fulfill that mission will make sense for your customers.

Don’t allow your company to be pigeonholed by its first product

While it’s important for a brand to evolve, this doesn’t mean to change completely on a whim. When you are defined by the first product you introduce to the market, each time you introduce a new one, you’ll find yourself changing the company’s description to fit the mold of that product. It’s an exhausting task that is next to impossible to sustain because, eventually, no one will know what the cohesive thread tying your products together actually is.

Make the connection between your brand and its product(s)

Customers are loyalists. Once a brand has infiltrated a home, business or person’s life, reverting to a different brand becomes less likely. When you create a powerful brand with a strong mission and sense of purpose, new products you create and release will draw customers because they’re already familiar with the brand.

Don’t assume you think you know your customers

If you ever have any doubt—or even if you don’t—about who your customer is, go and find out. Conduct market research, distribute client surveys, host focus groups. Assuming your brand’s message resonates with your customers, and will continue to, can be disastrous and is often a result of a lack of skepticism and willingness to question assumptions when making decisions about a brand’s or product’s messaging.


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