The Power of a Brand
This weekend I watched this video on Clever Style’s YouTube page. The two hosts, Lily and Erin blind taste test brand name products and their store brand alternatives to see which one they prefer and guess which one is the brand name and which is the store brand.
Warning: spoiler alerts ahead. 😉
It was entertaining to see how passionate Lily was about her ketchup brand, but ended up preferring the store brand! Or, that some products like Coca-Cola and Cinnamon Toast Crunch have a much more unique selling point that both hosts were able to correctly say which one was the brand because the store brand was just too different. Quoting from the video, “Cinnamon Toast Crunch makes an effort to show in their commercials the zoomed in cinnamon swirls…this one is baked in, this one is just rolled in cinnamon”. But even with a few exceptions, It is interesting to see how much a brand can truly affect our buying choices.
I, like Lily am very particular in buying certain things like bottled water and ketchup. But the truth is I haven’t tried every bottled water brand nor every ketchup brand. So why is is that I am so attached? It is all about branding, perception and loyalty. I had a good experience with the brands I like, so I want to continue to go back to them.
Brand Name vs Generic
To clear the air of mystery, at least from what I’ve been told, a lot of store brand products are simply white labeled versions of name brands. Of course, some stores have their own bakeries and make their own breads, but things like store brand potato chips, condiments and canned vegetables are often a larger brand’s product with a store brand label on it. Sure, they may not be 100% identical, but usually the quality is still there. Yet we don’t gravitate towards a store brand because it doesn’t have the same brand power behind it. The lower price of store brands can also play into our perception of value and quality.
An Example of Brand Loyalty
Every experience, quality, message and perception goes into the brand. A parent picks up a box of Kraft Mac ’n Cheese and their children enjoy the taste of their dinner. They smile and laugh while eating. A parent wants to create that experience again, so when they go back to the store they will buy that brand again. But why did they pick up the Kraft brand in the beginning? There are a number of factors it could be, like a friend sharing their experience or seeing an advertisement that hit those same emotions of enjoying a meal together with their children. Being able to touch on these emotions and create those experiences is part of Kraft’s brand. If it was all about taste, they wouldn’t have changed their recipe a few years ago. Kraft simply has a very good base of brand loyalty for their Mac ’n Cheese because they do a great job with maintaining all aspects of their brand and reaching their target market.
For me, I have a strong brand loyalty to Apple. My experience with Apple began with an iPod. But it wasn’t until I began my career as a designer that I developed a preference for Apple products. It even took me until the iPhone 5 to make the switch to their phone! Now, with the seamless way my iPhone integrates with my MacBook and iMac, it creates a simplified and streamlined work flow for me that I love. Combining that with their user interface, it would be hard to switch to any other mobile or computer device.
How You Can Use This
The same is true of other brands that have a good positioning in their market. It is why fully knowing and understanding your brand is so important to your business. Every experience the customer has with your service helps to define your brand and how it is perceived. Consider if the experience you are providing, from first interaction to final use, is in service of how you want your brand to be perceived.
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