Which is more important to consumers: products or brands? The short answer, of course, is both. Consumers care about both products and brands, because they’re two sides of the same coin. If your brand is bad, consumers will be less likely to purchase your product; if your product is bad, people are unlikely to engage with your brand in a meaningful way. But when it comes to long-term, meaningful interactions between companies and consumers, people care about the brand behind the product.
“Brand” is one of those words that seems to have a different meaning depending on who you ask. It’s widely used, but narrowly understood. So just what is a brand? Is it a logo? A website? Is it just a product name? (Company Branding: What’s the Big Deal?)
Nope. Those are simply attributes of a brand. Just like humans, brands are far more complex than simply names or symbols. Put simply, your brand is your audience’s perception of your company. In 2018, this can include everything from your company’s website and social media presence, to your promises to your customers. Your company’s brand is the relationship with your customer. It’s invaluable. It exists in your customers’ minds.
Products, on the other hand, are tangible-real world objects. Products can be copied by competitors; brands are unique. Products can become outdated (especially tech products); good brands are timeless. Products are inanimate objects; brands have values, culture, and personality. Good brands have all the attributes of a human being, including the ability to build meaningful relationships.
David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, described brands as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” But we take it a step further. We transform brands from Intangible Entity to Human Identity™.
So, products or brands—which do consumers care about most? Consider these potentially startling statistics:
- 57% of Millennials will boycott a brand that doesn’t share their social values or beliefs
- 89% of U.S. consumers are more likely to switch to brands that support a cause
- 63% are hopeful businesses will drive social and environmental change
- 83% factor in brand values when considering a purchase
Read that last point again. Brand values are so important to purchasing decisions that a wide majority of American consumers take it into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase a product. This isn’t some marketing mumbo jumbo. People want to build relationships with brands. They want to feel good about their purchases. Whether they know it or not, they want Brand to Human®.
At the heart of it, brands provide peace of mind. Customers want comfort, satisfaction, and assurance. They want to know they’re purchasing the right things. Because great brands offer consistently great quality, they naturally become part of a lifestyle. They save decision-making time, provide a sense of low risk and safety, add value, and help consumers express who they are.
Whether your company has 1000 employees or it’s just you in a home office, carefully building a brand is one of the most important things you can do for your business. It’s also one of the trickiest and most difficult things you can do. Don’t leave something so important up to chance. Get in touch with us. We’re the experts in the art and science of company branding.