What’s the difference and why does it matter? As a business or company, your central aim is to make profit and increase profit. Your most important task then is to find ways to either expand margins or sell in the high numbers, depending on the nature of your business and your brand positioning; this is basic economics (yes, economics also matter in Brand Strategy).
At this point, let’s lay out a caveat: not every industry or market follows mainstream economic principles. Special markets exist that adhere to different rules. There are also peculiar market conditions that could affect the regular rules of buying and selling, e.g. recession, natural disasters, and other special circumstances. This article assumes regular market conditions and competitive markets.
Commodities are items that are purchased out of necessity or need. They are easily substituted and hold no value except for their use. Brands on the other hand are distinct and unique assets that are purchased, associated with and appreciated for value both tangible and intangible. Brands are not always purchased out of necessity, and a lot of their value is tied to the distinct identity they possess. This matters in every aspect of your central aim as a business (profit making) because your ability to maximize profit can be very heavily influenced by the positioning of your brand. This is what makes Brand Strategy important, and why being intentional about elevating your brand is compulsory.
Two important items need to be ticked off your checklist in a preliminary effort to elevate your brand in a world of commodities:
Your USP is sharp and obvious
Here the USP is again, to remind you that winning is not a walk in the park. Your Unique Selling Point (USP) is the key to creating a distinct brand. This is important because in a sea of available options, you must stand out to win your consumers. And this goes beyond simply appearing ‘different’. You need substance to back it up in order to be convincing enough.
Your brand is like an iceberg. At the very top are all the things that attract your audience, the elements that are immediately obvious: logo, colours, name, website and other similar attributes. Below the surface is the Brand Strategy, that contains the bulk of the iceberg: from a good understanding of consumers, to brand values, a rich history, brand purpose, your business model and other key elements that culminate your USP. This is the advantage you have and the foundation on which you can confidently tell your consumers why they have to pick you out of the options they have available.
These attributes must also be clearly defined and sharp. They must be clear enough to interpret into simple communication that your consumers can easily understand. They must also be obvious. If it takes too much work to figure out what is distinct about your brand, you will lose potential consumers before you can convince them.
You create an emotional connection with your audience
Humans are emotional creatures, and the bulk of our decisions are made emotionally
People will purchase your product or service because of the positive emotions they experience when they interact with or purchase your brand. More interesting is the fact that 95% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously.
What you should aim for is reaching into the subconscious mind of your consumer through emotional connection, which is much more easily achieved with a brand, not a commodity. People purchase commodities based on logic: when there is a need, a purchase is made. However, when a brand has entered the subconscious mind, purchases are made not only based on need but also when emotional triggers are activated.
With a brand and a strong Brand Strategy, you easily control the narrative your customers see and receive. You get to control what emotions you convey with every touch point and every communication. Winning brands know this, and this is why they easily win consumers over and over where commodities struggle.
At The Y Brand, we help Startups, Entrepreneurs and SMEs build strong and powerful brands, with the starting point of creating sharp Brand Strategies. Reach out to email@example.com to see how we can help you.