By building a powerful brand, you'll have crafted a powerful marketing platform, and a good brand makes the sales process a lot easier. This is why so many health and beauty professionals report that when they move their business to Wellshare and sign up for one of the 31 treatment rooms for rent, their client numbers increase. It's not that their service changes when they set up there, it’s that their overall brand has improved by leveraging the beautiful, modern and professional facilities on offer. The consumer considers every touchpoint of your service offering when forming an overall opinion of your brand. If your booking process is outdated, then your brand is outdated in the same way that logos that use colour schemes from the 80's also seem outdated.
The key to brand development lies in differentiation. The history of branding dates back to the mid-1800s when mass production and the transportation of goods were in full swing. So, producers placed their initials on their merchandise or burned their mark into crates as a way to distinguish themselves. This allowed buyers to make repeat purchases, and over time these brands became symbols of quality. The better the brand perception, the higher the price the products commanded. This concept is just as important today as it was in the 1800s. Without a brand, your service will become a commodity which, in the mind of the consumer, is easily interchangeable. The problem with commoditization is that the only differentiator becomes price and a race to the bottom ensues.
Consider an example of a commodity such as copper. If a consumer believes that all copper for sale is the same, then it stands to reason that if one supplier drops their price they will win the market share until another supplier drops their price even further. You must understand that your brand and the perceived value associated with it in the eyes of the consumer is the only thing that stands between you and the commoditization of what you offer.
Imagine your service is placed inside a crate, stacked on a ship with thousands of others like it. It's not just the mark on the box, it's what that mark stands for, it's everything that you've done to convince your customer to select your crate over the next. When consumers are faced with similar choices, brands provide the missing information. The brand is attached to the service, and a perception has been formed in the mind of the consumer. This perception may be formed instantly, or it may have been forged after many brand interactions. But perception is all about using cues to recognize concepts, and branding is really just communicating these concepts so that the brand may cue them.
Brands are tied to emotions, beliefs, and attitudes, and when a consumer sees the brand, they're connected to an experience, and this experience pushes them to choose one over the other. One of the brand's most important purposes is to create customer retention. Consider a common customer commodity purchase - Coca Cola. If a store carried Coca Cola and a store brand cola, is their affinity with Coke? And to what point? If the store brand cola is on sale, at what price point would they switch? Most people would continue to choose Coca Cola because it has considerable brand value when in reality many studies have shown that when consumers do blind tastings of Coca Cola vs store brand colas there is not too much of a difference in preference.
The stronger your affinity with Coke, the larger that gap in price has to become. Now, this is a simplistic representation of a much larger theory, but it is one of the most important principles for creating your long-term business success. The consumer preference of a brand dictates market share, and market share tends to demonstrate strength, and strength contributes to increased profitability. So, at the end of the day, it's your brand, and everything your brand represents, that truly defines just how profitable your business will be.
What actually makes a brand a brand?