The power of choice: It’s freedom, liberty, and the ability to pave our own ways in life. It’s necessary to our feeling in control of our own destinies. However, when too many choices are presented by a corporate brand, consumers tend to shut down. They become overwhelmed…and may feel compelled to patronise your competitor – one with a more digestible number of selections.

Is your Corporate Brand Offering Too Many Choices?

Today’s consumer takes his or her choices very seriously. Choices are, after all, the defining factors in our lives’ directions. Surely, not every choice is as impactful as others, but whether your ideal client is facing a decision about which university to attend, which healthcare provider to employ for major surgery, or which laundry detergent to use to get out those tough stains, it is imperative that your corporate brand recognise not only your audience’s need for choice, but their need for ease-of-choice.

When a corporate brand offers only a limited number of selections, what does that say to consumers? At first blush, you may believe that it means their selection is lacking – that they don’t care about a consumer’s need for choice. Under further inspection, however, you might begin to adopt the belief that it means they have done the research; they have studied their ideal client; they have taken what they’ve learnt and offered only those items or services that will be of the greatest value to their target audience.

Just as a salesperson is taught to recommend only one or two products to a prospect, a corporate brand should offer only those products that will be of the greatest help and interest to their ideal clients. This demonstrates a keen understanding and a willingness to ‘weed out’ the unnecessary.

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When too many choices are presented, potential customers will procrastinate, or put off the difficult decision until they’ve had time to mull over the possibilities. While they’re thinking it over, the competition is circling – presenting an easier program with quicker [purchase] results. The consumer’s attention will wane during this ‘thinking on it’ time, making the competition’s swoop more effective. Moreover, a corporate brand with too many choices runs the risk of low satisfaction ratings – because when there’s more to choose from, the chances that a consumer will make the wrong decision is significant.

What can your corporate brand do to offer only those selections that are necessary for holding the attention of your ideal client? Here are a few suggestions from How to Build a Brand:

  • Eliminate product varieties that are redundant. Selling dark chocolate chip, milk chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, walnut chocolate chip, and almond chocolate chip cookies may be overwhelming for consumers. A taste test using a panel of ideal clients and an honest polling of existing customers just might give this corporate brand the data it needs to soar with just two or three varieties, lower production costs, and targeted marketing.
  • If a wide variety of choices is inherent to your corporate brand, make those choices more manageable – and more easily classified and digested by your target audience. Establish categories that represent your ideal client’s needs, so he or she may choose the category under which to shop, and then make choices from that category. This reduces the chances of becoming overwhelmed, and will set you apart from your choice-heavy competitors.
  • Not only can you limit the number of choices, you can guide consumers through smaller-scale choices. Demonstrating the results is one way your corporate brand can accomplish this. For instance…buy option one, get this / buy option two, experience this. Think in terms of helping your clients to choose their outcomes, rather than their starting points. This will increase buying confidence and help them to feel like you’re saving them a step (i.e. saving them time and money).
  • Don’t throw all of the choices out at once. Maybe start with the more popular ones, or the ones that are easiest to comprehend. After purchases are made, or product education milestones are reached, then delve into more specific choices or more targeted products. Your potential customers will feel better equipped to make difficult choices, will feel vested in your corporate brand, and will be less likely to ‘stray’ to the competition.

Wondering if your corporate brand is suffering from an overload of choices? Wonder no more. Simply contact How to Build a Brand on +44 (0) 208 123 6776 or email us at [email protected]. You may also wish to check out our FREE 6 Step Brand L.E.A.D.E.R. System or have FREE Weekly Branding Tips emailed every Monday.

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