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Why you should launch a Brand and not just a Product

The biggest challenge for many start-ups isn’t coming up with ground-breaking ideas, cutting-edge technology and wizardry for new products and services. The real challenge, contrary to what many entrepreneurs may think, often lies in codifying the insights and passion into a clear blueprint. A strong brand anchored in a clear reason for being that cannot be replicated when sooner or later product patents expire, innovations hit the market and new competitors rise up.

Brands matter

The chances of launching a successful business without a brand in today’s world equals the chances of you winning the lottery!

With 62% of consumers wanting companies to stand for the issues they are passionate about, it’s never been more important to stand for something bigger than a product alone (Accenture, 2018).

Or do you think it’s a coincidence that the most profitable companies in the world also have the most valuable and recognizable brands (Google, Apple, Airbnb, Tesla …)?

Neuroscience confirms that our purchasing decisions are based on the emotions we feel and only afterwards justified with logic.

Or as Simon Sinek would say: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

So when it comes to consumers' decision making, brands matter.

Why else would someone buy your product when there are numerous identical other options to choose from?

Let’s take a look at the point-of-view video camera companies Contour and GoPro. Even though they both launched in 2004, there is one major factor that differentiates the success of these two companies. Whereas Contour launched a sexy innovative POV camera for action sports (a product), GoPro launched an aspiration for athletes: to "Go Pro" and capture legendary moments with the help of a video camera. The company launched a brand – rather than just a product - with values grounded on feeling like a "pro" and taking on new adventures.

Purpose-led brands like GoPro create more relevant experiences and build deeper and resilient customer relationships by evoking memories and emotions associated with quality. That leads to stronger sales and increased customer lifetime value. Purpose also bolsters confidence in a brand and business. And what is investment all about if not the belief in future success? A clear sense of self and reason for being as a business is essential to stand out in today’s abundance and complexity. It’s the inner compass that aligns an organisation and creates the focus on where to build the dream.

So how do I change my intention from product to brand?

To have a lasting impact, the organisation needs to be rooted in a purpose long-term vision, defined human values, and a story that resonates with an audience. As Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks pointed out so rightly (keeping in mind he built a mega brand): “In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart.” The story of your brand lies within, don’t get nervous about outside pressure to evolve new features and functionality. Instead, focus on the soul of your business by asking the right questions:

What is your reason for being? What is your brief to the world?
What’s your story and personality in a human context?
What are your core beliefs that guide the way you behave?
Which new business & brand opportunities result from your clear self-awareness?
Is my operating business truly aligned with what I believe in?

These are just some guiding questions we use in our agile sprint sessions with portfolio companies to turn big ideas into human-centred brands and help define a clear picture of who they are and want to be in the future.

Humanise your brand

It has never been more important for brands to be aware, understand and react on what is happening in their customers’ lives. The pandemic demonstrated in front of our eyes how rapidly our needs and desires can change from status and self-actualization to real human needs such as family and health. In order to connect with an audience meaningfully, brands as a consequence need to thrive on human characteristics such as empathy and authenticity, asking themselves who are we? How do we behave? How do we speak? All these go far beyond a logo and catchy communications. Investing more time in the right approach and delving deeper into those questions in the beginning might not seem necessary, but it for sure makes all the difference in transforming a function-driven idea into a soul-driven brand with long-term customer loyalty. And as a result it will also help guide all decision making in the future.

If you want to know more about how we can help you translate your passion into purpose, then read more here:


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