Brand: why no one ever really buys a product or service (and what they do buy).
No one has ever purchased a product or service. Ever.
Deny it as much as you want but we have only ever purchased one thing whenever we’ve bought something in the past, or if we intend to make a purchase (large or small) in the future – and it’s not a tangible product or even a service.
Regardless of socio-economic status – whether you’re filthy rich or poor, this factor does not discriminate. It applies equally to all people regardless of their background or status and in this way it defines and demonstrates its true power. Harness and communicate this quality and your business will experience serious growth.
This mystical and magical ‘thing’ is best thought of not as a physical item you sell, nor is it something you can truly quantify. Think more in terms of a quality, an attribute or, like brand itself, – a perception.
This quality is, however, something businesses and business owners can cultivate, identify, express, own and, if placed at the heart of your business and your marketing tactics, it can be the missing piece of the jigsaw for your business and brand success.
That elusive quality is ‘value,’ or to be more exact – ‘perceived value’.
Value is what we really buy as customers and what people have sought out all along.
It’s what we perceive to be useful or valuable relative to ourselves, our direct needs and our situation that determines its price or how much we are willing to pay for that product or service.
The problem with perceived value, however, is that everyone’s definition of it can vary. The market will pay what it wants to pay. Some businesses will value what you offer, others won’t. Because like beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder.
A great (and controversial) example of ‘value’ is bottled water. The product or service may not even be what we actually need – no one really needs bottled water – but many perceive value in bottled water because we’ve bought into the message, the story and the perception that the water is collected from pure, idyllic mountain fresh springs, instead of industrial desalination plants, water treatments plants or tap water with aging copper-plated pipes. Which one would you rather drink from?
Exactly my point. (FYI – I drink filtered, treated water. Bottled water always tasted like plastic to me – real or imagined.)
The value is therefore clear to us all. As customers, many will buy bottled water regardless of whether it’s actually sourced from the spring or not. It is all in our perception. Many more are even prepared to pay a premium fee – sometimes beyond the standard price of competitor products and beyond what other customers would be willing to pay. Again, the market will pay what the market will pay.
Perceived value can therefore be a powerful business tool if harnessed correctly.
The perceived value of bottled water lies largely in its convenience, its mobility, the perceived health benefits (real or imaginary) i.e. its freshness or purity, the power of brand, its core messaging, purpose, positioning, presentation and packaging and a healthy dose of the fear factor to boot – the risk of dirty, contaminated water, heavy metals, fluoride (conspiracy theories aside) and other impurities in the water.
In this way ‘value’ is very much aligned to brand.
Build a brand around your product or service and build perceived value into your business. Then you really will be in business.
Be of value.
Be your brand.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
At The Brand Experts, we believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. We achieve this through a series of brand workshops designed to help businesses identify their identity, realise and communicate their ‘Why’ and find their voice. We do this to help businesses create unique brand stories that resonate with ideal customers and make a difference in their world. Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now. We’re passionate about helping brands get ‘in sync’ and connected with their customers.