Someone recently posed this corporate branding question to the branding experts here at How to Build a Brand: “Should I put more value on my brand or on my product?” Firstly, we are thrilled at the chance to answer this brilliantly thought-out question. Secondly, we suggest that you read on. The answer may surprise you.
Corporate Branding for an Imperfect World
In a perfect world, the most talented and hard-working musician would get the gig. The most credentialed candidate would get the job. The brand with the highest quality product would get the market share.
This only sounds fair, right? After all, talk is cheap.
Or is it?
When it comes to corporate branding, what you say, how you interact with your [engaged] audience, how you respond to criticism, the brand identity that you put forth…all matter to the success of your brand. In fact, they often matter more than the pudding – you know, where the proof is supposed to be.
For every big brand that has endured in historical proportions, the answer to the question of what matters most has always been, “The brand.” Take Coca-Cola for instance. From its beginnings in 1886, it has been an industry leader. Today, when compared to another product, like R.C. (Royal Crown cola), its taste is not superior, its ingredients are not exceptional, and its quality is comparable. So why is Coke the leader? The answer is quite simple: better corporate branding.
If Coca-Cola should lose its corporate branding image, and be forced to revert to non-descript packaging and to abandon its marketing ‘flavour,’ it would lose nearly £40 billion pounds. Its branding is worth 80 per cent of its total value – much more than its caffeinated, sugar-water concoction.
Since 1886, Coke’s brand identity has barely changed. When consumers were polled extensively in the 1980s, they overwhelmingly chose the New Coke formula in blind taste tests, meaning it should have surpassed the ‘old’ Coke in sales when it was introduced in 1985; however, the company was forced to market its original formula as Coke Classic, because sales for New Coke were so disappointing. Why? Because consumers’ emotional attachment to Coca-Cola, as they knew it, overpowered their desire for a better product – proving that corporate branding is far more valuable than any product.
Emotions drive most purchasing decisions. Yes, price and quality matter, but they are dwarfed by the power of emotive marketing. Make your ideal clients feel the emotions which spur them to action, and you’ll have a brand loyalty machine on your hands. Focus solely on price and quality, and your brand might take the ‘old’ path of ‘new’ Coke.
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