The art of branding has taken on flamboyant hues in recent times. The field has assumed importance for obvious reasons. However, the effort that we see today is primarily directed towards creating superficial market acceptance through establishing distinct visual identities. Hence, while the ‘brands’ look different, they don’t differ much from one another at the core. In short, they don’t have a unique value proposition, they only have a unique visual proposition. This is one of the key reasons why the attrition rate is so high amongst new brands. It is thus high time that brands once again turn to the basics and realize that success is closely related to the intrinsic value they provide.
While backing brands with lavish campaigns is definitely beneficial, the brand has to still have a solid offering. By solid offering, I mean anything that ultimately adds value to the customer. Hence, it makes no sense for a company to keep harping about anything unless the customer agrees. After all, branding is all about managing customer perceptions. So until the customer says that a brand adds value, it just doesn’t. I would like to talk about a somewhat different but relevant example to highlight my point. Let’s look at the Green Card. The US doesn’t need to market it at all. It offers so much intrinsic value that it is sought after by millions all over the world.
The Green Card, of course, is different from commercial brands in that it only has an indirect profit motive and is controlled. It does see competition from other countries, but the dynamics still vary from the marketplace in general. However, it still offers brands some useful insights, the primary one being the intrinsic value it brings to the table. And that is exactly what each and every brand should aspire to do. When a brand lodges itself into the psyche of a customer through the value it adds, the differentiation it creates for itself is far more powerful than the kind we see done simply through graphics and colour. The Green Card also demonstrates the power of scarcity, if managed well.
When a customer develops a strong relationship with a brand, it transcends the flippant bonds formed through a visual connect. In such cases, the customer is willing to make allowances for the brand even if competitors come up with lower pricing. Beyond this, the visual identity serves to strengthen the bonds and a consistent approach results in cementing them for a long time to come. This is the only way to develop stickiness in today’s turbulent markets.