Branding Ain't What It Used to Be

Branding Ain't What It Used to Be

Given the overwhelming amount of information that consumers receive daily, branding has become more important than ever to avoid getting lost in a sea of sameness.  However, branding continues to be a dynamic discipline that is constantly changing and requires showrooms to shift strategies in order to build trusting and meaningful relationships with clients, customers and key constituencies. 

Here’ an example of the changing nature of branding.  A student at a university in upstate New York needs to buy a winter coat.  She could fire up her Google machine and research coats that will keep her warm and toasty when the outside temperature is often below zero for months on end.  What typically happens however, is that she will ask someone she might know who also attends university in upstate New York about coats.  If someone raves about a particular coat, the chances are that she will purchase that coat.

This example illustrates how branding has changed.  You could have Nike’s advertising budget and it would not have made a difference for the student to purchase a Nike coat versus the one referred to by her a friend.  The purchase was based on one recommendation only.  The manufacturer of the coat or its marketing efforts had no influence on the decision.  The lesson is that a majority of your showroom’s brand has little to nothing to do with traditional branding efforts.  

After the student purchases the coat, she most likely will not have any interaction with the brand nor does she want one.  She does not need to receive new coat news.  If in the future, the student needed another coat, she most likely would buy the same brand, which exemplifies another shift in branding.  Many purchase products out of habit.  If you successfully renovate a kitchen for one of your customers, chances are they will select you to renovate a bath or another room in their home without shopping the job.  They will do so out of habit rather than as a response to any branding effort that you employed.

We know that branding is no longer what we want our clients and prospects to know about us.  Your brand is what others say about you.  Today’s branding requires providing content that encourages others to put your brand in a positive light for others to see, to be your fan and primary source of news business.  Your efforts to promote your brand is only relevant if it is used by your fans to tell your compelling story to others.

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