You just built your business (or your personal) brand identity. And you’re pretty satisfied with the identity that it projects. But the more relevant question is this – do your target audience even know that you (your brand) exist at all?… Do you have, as the title suggests, a brand presence?…
Are You Selling Generic Commodities, Or Branded Specialty Products / Services?
You can’t sell a generic product or service, and expect people to remember who you are. We’ve already established why you need a brand identity in this article. A brand identity helps your audience to identify, and to remember you, your product, or the experience of your service. Not unless you wanna be just another faceless trader, selling generic commodities, and destined to never be remembered.
Every business entity strives for repeat businesses. You could be selling consumable products, where you expect satisfied customers to keep coming back to buy more. Or you can be selling a big-ticket items, where satisfied customers would recommend you to their friends and family. Either way, you’d expect positive reviews from your satisfied customers to keep your sales growing. The only way for this to happen is that you have a unique identity for your satisfied customers to remember you by, and to refer you to others. And that unique identity is your brand identity.
“Hey, I bought this beautiful set of ceramic kitchen knives, and I’m really happy with it. Who did I buy it from?… I dunno… Some guy I met on the street as I was coming home from grocery shopping yesterday afternoon…”
How To Create Brand Presence?
To have a brand presence literary means have an identity that others can easily remember, relate to, and convey to others. But more importantly, it should also be able to stick around in their minds for the foreseeable future too. It’ll be a bonus if your brand identity can invoke emotional to your audience too.
To illustrate this example, let’s compare these two sentences :-
(1) Without An Identifiable Brand
“Hey, I drank a glass of sweetened, cola-flavoured, reddish-brown coloured, carbonated beverage this morning, and I really love it…”
(2) With An Identifiable Brand
“Hey, I drank a glass of Coke this morning, and I really love it…”
Which sentence relates more to you?… I’m pretty sure it’s the second one, right? But the question is why does it relate more to you? Well, it’s no surprise that Coca-Cola spends a lot of money to keep the brand current and relevant… Yes, they spend an obscene amount of money to promote and defend their brand jealously…
Competitors To Coca-Cola
Believe it or not, Coca-Cola isn’t the only brand of cola-flavoured beverage in the market. You probably know their biggest rival – Pepsi-Cola, with an arguably similar advertising budget too. Yup, they also command an arguably similar market share too. But aside from Pepsi, there are (or at least were) other brands offering cola-flavoured carbonated beverage too.
Other notable cola-flavoured beverage brands include RC-Cola (Royal Crown Cola), Virgin-Cola, Mecca-Cola, etc. Here’s a list of other cola-flavoured brands to whet your appetite. To top it all off, there also are a variety of house-brand cola beverages too, like Tesco-Cola, Essential Waitrose-Cola, Classic-Cola (Sainsbury), etc.
While many are simply offering a cheaper alternatives to “the real thing“, a number of them are rather similar in taste. Some would even go as far as saying that their offerings are “equivalent” to “the real thing” too. But before we dwell any deeper, who declared Coke “the real thing” anyway?… And what makes Coke “the real thing”?… Are they suggesting that all the other cola beverage brands are… gulp!… fake?…
A Disclaimer – Before It’s Too Late!…
Before we proceed any further, we need to emphasise this – we’re not paid, sponsored, or related in anyway to Coke, Coca-Cola, The Coca-Cola Company, or any of their subsidiaries worldwide. We did not receive any benefits, in payment or in kind, to promote, or even mention the name Coke or Coca-Cola in any way, shape or form.
We’re simply using the name only as an example of a successful brand. A brand with presence the whole world over. A brand that we simply can’t ignore… We’re also using it only as a point of reference, and encourage other brands to strive and match, if not exceed their brand familiarity and presence.
What Exactly Is A Cola Beverage?
Figuratively tearing the label away, let’s look at what makes a cola beverage, well, a cola beverage… There are generally only five basic ingredients in a cola beverage – water, colour, flavour, sweetener, and that all-important carbon dioxide gas that’s dissolved in the water. Read this article to understand more about how the carbonation process works. Yes… It’s really that simple…
Of course, I’m not including the “secret ingredients” and all the other minor components that makes up the individual recipes. These minor components add up to a minuscule amount, both in recipe portion and production cost. So for all intends and purposes, it’s literary negligible.
Henceforth, all cola beverage brands are essentially similar… No, I’m not suggesting that they’re totally identical… just similar to one another…
What Makes One Cola Beverage Brand Stand Head And Shoulders Above All The Others?
The answer to this question is literary in the title of this article – Brand Presence. Coke’s secret of success isn’t in having a cola that taste better than its competitors. There are many cola beverage fans opine that [insert brand here] taste better than Coke. You can read all about the Pepsi Challenge here. The video below is the advertised version, but the blind tests that are held worldwide are essentially the same.
Coke clearly isn’t the “preferred choice” of the majority based on the blind test as mentioned above. So why is the “Coke” brand held in a much higher regard over that of “Pepsi” (or any other brands)?
The answer is actually very simple – Coke has a stronger brand presence than Pepsi, or any other cola beverage brands. It doesn’t matter which cola beverage brand is preferred by the masses, or which beverage actually tastes better than the other. What matters is who has a more favourable brand identity, and one that relates to the masses.
“Okay… So What Does Coke’s Success Got To Do With My Business Identity?”
Plenty actually… The take away from the example above is this – it doesn’t really matter what commodity or generic service that you sell. If you don’t have a brand identity, there’s no anchor point for you to promote your product or service. You don’t “sell” a commodity or a generic service. You sell a branded product or branded service. This brand is your identity. And this is the identity that you can promote, and create a presence with your audience.
So how do you go about developing a successful brand?… While we can’t guarantee you that your brand will be successful, we’re pretty sure that if you were to follow the guideline, your brand will enjoy a pretty good exposure with your audience. And once you’ve got your foothold there, you have to keep on moving forward. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day, but when it fell, it burned down in one. It takes a whole lot of continuous hard work to develop a favourable brand identity. And once you’ve achieved some form of success, you don’t simply rest on your laurels, and stop working.
The success of your brand presence is a journey, not a destination. Don’t believe me?… Did it ever cross your mind that lot’s of money is still being pumped into the Coke brand? And it’s still being actively promoted the world over, and across all channels and media?…
“So What’s This Guideline That You’re Talking About?”
There are generally certain steps that you can take to improve your brand presence. While most of them are common knowledge, not many people really understand how it applies to them. So what we’ve done is to streamline the process into an easy-to-follow guideline that’s applicable across the board, regardless what industry you’re in.
We’ll go into more details on this guideline in the next article. So stay tuned, there’ll be exciting contents coming very soon.