The laws of branding 2


The law of quality
QUALITY is important, but brands are not built by quality alone.
It is not always easy to differentiate between a high quality good and a low quality good by just looking at it. Marketers need to ensure that they narrow their focus in order to produce a brand that will hold a reputable space in the minds of the consumers.

I studied the perceptions of consumers in the house brands of a retail giant in Bulawayo not so long ago. My findings were that while the retailer had improved the quality of their house brands considerably the consumers were still sceptical of the brands.

Quality alone will not cut it, narrowing the focus and the right pricing will help. When you narrow your focus, you become a specialist and not a generalist. A specialist is generally perceived to know more or to be of higher quality than a generalist.

The law of the category
A leading brand should promote the category, not the brand.
In order to build a brand narrow its focus and then make your brand names stand for the category, (the generic effect). For example when people talk about internet search the name that comes to mind is Google. Often you will hear people say “Google it” and yet in actual fact Google is not the only search engine.

There are others such as Wikipedia which are not as well known as Google. Google launched itself to create the perception that their brand was the leader, the pioneer, or the original. In another example, there are many brands in the food industry that specialise in chicken.

Nando’s is a concept that came later, but it seems to be the first because they promoted the category, when you think grilled chicken, you cannot help, but think Nando’s.

The law of the name
If you remember, in my very first article in November 2013 I argued that unlike William Shakespeare’s take, a writer whom I am still in awe of today, there is in fact, everything in a name.

If you doubt this ask Chinua Achebe of the Things Fall Apart fame.

The US artiste 50 Cent had to pay him a great deal of money for “copying” the name of his book in a film. Do you remember “Fly Kumba” that name will also not be used in at least another eight or so years unless the partners agree on a settlement. The most important branding decision a marketer will ever make is what to name your product or service because in the long run a brand is nothing more than a name.

The law of extensions

The easiest way to destroy a brand is to put its name on everything.

What comes into a consumer’s mind when line extensions like, fat free, light or lite, healthy. Well what comes into my mind it that the original product is in fact, not a good product for me to take. Would you as a marketer want consumers to think like that?

If you have produced a product with lots of fat in it, keep it that way and pray that people continue to buy it with its “faults”. Call the light or “lite” version something else. Not every marketer is as shrewd as South African Breweries (their “lite” seems popular) or National Foods, (the Mahatma ranges are clever).

The law of fellowship
In order to build the category, a brand should welcome other brands.

A formidable brand needs healthy competition.

By operating with healthy competition that is when you can assess the strength of your brand. I doubt Edgars would want to see Truworths out of business or vice-versa.

They two brands have to fight for their category to retain and to welcome more customers into the category.

The law of the generic

One of the fastest routes to failure is giving a brand a generic name.

While these generic names could have worked in the past they are unlikely to work now. The words “general, standard, national or international” are best left in the past.

Till next week, keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy.