It’s not a product or a service. It’s something more intangible.
It may be hard to believe, but the world’s most powerful brands are not really in the business of selling you their products or services. Rather, these brands are selling something more intangible. In analyzing a few of the major brands that made it on Forbes’ The World’s Most Valuable Brands in 2016, it is evident that these brands are really selling experiences. In fact, the core strength of these brands are attributed to their success in providing a customer experience that is unparalleled to its competitors. Here’s what the top brands are really trying to sell you.
Apple’s brand value, ranked at #1 and worth $145.3 billion dollars, is twice the revenue from its next closest competitor. As a technology company, it designs, manufactures and markets a wide-range of desirable tech products and services. But is it all about selling iPhones, iPads and iTunes Store apps? Apple is the first in its industry to improve the user experience with technology. It has changed technology from what once was a frustrating experience with bulky designs, confusing interfaces and complex processes to an experience that is more simplified, streamlined, and user-friendly. Apple allows us to experience technological innovation by fulfilling our need for convenience and efficiency in our lives. Regardless of how you may feel about their iPhones or iOS, you cannot deny the groundbreaking influence it had in raising the standards for technology that is designed with the consumer in mind.
Is your brand improving the user experience?
Coca-Cola’s brand value, ranked at #4 and worth $56 billion dollars, is well-positioned to gain momentum in the future as it continues to expand its market share internationally. As a beverage company, known for its classic Coca-Cola drink, it is no longer confined as a reflection of American culture. Cola-Cola’s brand has now established a worldwide reputation and appeal as a trusted connection to international culture, diversity and community. It’s more than a provider of refreshing beverages, it wants to provide a sense of community, a culture of togetherness and a shared happiness every time you open a bottle.
Is your brand building a sense of community?
McDonalds’ brand value, ranked #6 and worth $39.5 billion dollars, is the only global food franchise where its Golden Arches symbol has been described as more recognizable than the Christian cross. But is McDonalds selling burgers or are they selling family and friendship while dining? It’s said that food can bring families and friends together and McDonalds exemplifies just that and more. It’s rare to see their ads without a group of people just laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It’s a smart decision since as families become busier, the traditional dinner at the table has inevitably been replaced with more informal meals. McDonalds is advocating for family togetherness whether you eat at their store, in the car right as you pull in their drive-thru, or at the convenience of your sofa in front of a TV.
Is your brand striving to maintain traditional family values?
Disney’s brand value, ranked at #11, is worth $31.6 billion dollars and perhaps even more considering a customer’s lifetime value. Everyone has had a positive experience or interaction with the Disney brand in some way in our childhood, whether through watching movies, playing toys or visiting Disneyland. Disney allows us to experience the wonders of our childhood through fond memories with our family and makes us want to pass on that same joy to the next generation. The Disney franchise has made a powerful impression on our childhood throughout adulthood. Many will continue to recreate those memories again and again by splurging for an annual Disneyland pass or a Disney Resort experience.
Is your brand creating cherished memories?
Louis Vuitton’s brand value, ranked at #14 and worth $28.1 billion dollars, is a top leading luxury fashion brand. It is one of the most profitable brands in the world with a profit margin approaching 40 percent. The high-end brand offers an extensive line of quality and luxurious leather and LV monogram products representing an symbol of status. Louis Vuitton’s desirable brand is evident by the many knock-offs that are available out there in the blackmarket. The brand is selling more than expensive purses, it’s selling a perception of wealth and class. People know that when they make a Louis Vuitton purchase, it’s a major one-time painful cost. However, the lasting image of admiration from peers and strangers who will perceive them to be rich and successful is simply priceless. Louis Vuitton’s product ensures that you are portrayed as an object of everyone’s desire and that is worth every penny to some people.
Is your brand representing a desirable symbol of status?
From analyzing some of the world’s most powerful brands, it is clear that these companies are not simply in the business of selling products or services. Is your company providing customers with memorable and valuable experiences? The best thing that a company can sell to its customers is a valuable experience, one that they will always remember and come back for. There will always be new competitors attempting to make a better product, add a unique feature or sell at a lower price. How is your brand distinguishing itself? The secret for success is attributed to selling an experience that is distinctive and unmatched by the closest competitors. Consider what your company is really trying to sell. Once you find that sweet spot, you will discover the secret to your company’s long-term success.
Read more: Are Brands a Thing of the Past?