Product Quality is Important, but Brands are not Built by Quality Alone.
The MINDSHARE of the consumer is inhabited by brands with stories to tell. Not to be viewed as merely a product or service, a brand is meant to be differentiated and humanized. A brand is a promise—a promise of satisfaction, a promise of happiness. What separates one brand from another is the unique story associated with it, and the fantasy fulfillment resultantly conferred upon the consumer. A brand is merely an “empty vessel” into which people pour their emotional responses and expectations.
A brand –a good brand– is the complete and ultimate embodiment of the consumer’s desires.
“Porsche is inextricably linked with the concept of taking control.”
“…superior athletic ability speaks to everyone’s belief in some primordial capacity for a kind of true greatness that has been obscured over time by expediency, disappointment and the general clutter of contemporary life.”
“Our role at the Coca-Cola Company is to perpetuate and develop a specialness about the brand, which takes the product above and beyond what is actually in the bottle itself. And so our purpose in life…is to be able to reach the consumer everywhere.”
The best brands of all time have been able to view themselves as more than a mere bauble or service—but as the synonymous code-word for the consumer’s psychological and human desire. Looking at the top five workwear brands (LEVI’S®, LEE®, WRANGLER®, CARHARTT®, and DICKIES®,) to a varying degree, all embody the ultimate in a fantasy of elite caliber that may, or may not be true. It does not matter. Words are the key to brand building. Reality, of course, rests in a visual world of shapes, colors, textures, and dimensions. But reality has no meaning without the context provided by the human mind. The mind gives meaning to visual reality by using words. Only when the mind thinks that an object is large or small, beautiful or ugly, dark or light, does that meaning arise.
It is the fundamental purpose of BRAND-BUILDING to define a unique meaning, and resultantly, manufacture relevance and necessity to the consumer. Prestige, more-so, is exuded, not proclaimed. The truly great prestige product does not declare how great it is, it permits the consumer to promote how great it is. The truly great brand knows this, and develops its IMAGE and CONSUMER MINDSHARE on all levels to substantiate the intended expectation.
So you can forget about the laundry list of wonderful attributes your product has. You can’t possibly associate them all with your brand name in a human mind. To get into the consumer’s mind you have to sacrifice. You have to reduce the essence of your brand to a single thought or attribute. An attribute that nobody else already owns in your category.