To reiterate the title: a gutsy brand is more important than a great product!
I know, I know, “That can’t be right!” “You’re an idiot!” “I hope a pack of rabid spider monkeys attacks you while you sleep!” Okay, that last one was just mean. Read on, and hopefully we can come to an understanding. And you’ll end up preferring a pack of cuddly kittens attacks me while I sleep.
Many businesses don’t stay open very long, though the numbers aren’t as bad as one would think. An article written by Ryan Jordan – VR Business Brokers – using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that roughly one in two businesses survive the first five years. The top five reasons, according to Travis Thorpe – CEO of Boostability – are a failure to market online, failing to listen to their customers, failing to leverage future growth – where he talks about the importance of branding, of course – failing to adapt and grow when the market changes, and failing to track and measure your marketing efforts.
Notice two of those had to do with marketing. Gang, once your brand is established, you are in the marketing business! It can’t be overstated how important marketing to your brand is.
I’d like to add to Mr. Thorpe’s list: thinking differently. Look back at General Patton’s quote, then realize if you think your product is more important than your brand, you’re thinking just like everyone else. And everyone else isn’t cracking the Fortune 100. Or even the Fortune 5000.
Nowhere in that list, or in my quick little addition, is product ever mentioned.
Now, let’s take a look at some brands that are WAY better than their products!
Budweiser – A couple months ago, I spoke to a group of 150 people. To conclude my presentation, I had them raise their hands if they enjoy a nice, refreshing beer from time to time. As you can imagine, nearly everyone’s hands went up. Then I had them keep their hands up if they had a favorite beer. Everyone’s hands stayed up. And lastly, I had them keep their hands up if their favorite beer was Budweiser. Out of 150 people, one person kept his hands up. And I feel so sorry for that poor bastard.
But see, Budweiser is so ingrained into our minds – as any good brand should be – that even though it’s nowhere near most people’s favorite beer, they still dig it enough to keep it at number one in the U.S. Which really does make it the “King of Beers.”
The iPhone – Let’s not worry about Apple as a whole, right now. Let’s just talk about this crazy little piece of hardware. The iPhone and its operating system are, by many accounts, substantially behind Android, tech-wise. The iPhone and Galaxy are the top two phones out there, and they’ve both been first and second place the last few months. The Galaxy runs on Android, so if the product mattered, the Galaxy would be blowing away the iPhone, right? Well, yeah. The thing is, the product doesn’t matter. It’s all about the brand. And even though the iPhone’s behind the Galaxy, tech-wise, the brand is still strong enough to keep the race neck and neck.
By the way, since readers of my blog know brand expansion hurts one’s brand, I have a tip for Apple and Samsung: stop adding new numbers and letters at the end of your products. And especially stop making cheaper and more expensive versions. Make one version of your respective phones, and instead of calling it the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6+, just call it the 2015 Galaxy, or the 2015 iPhone. I promise you, it’ll be so much better for your brands!
But I digress.
General Motors – GM is a corporation, and a sort-of-brand since car manufacturers know little about branding, that has so far admitted to killing 51 people due to a faulty ignition switch they knew about in 2001. And yet, General Motors still has the highest market share of all the automobile companies in the United States, and according to Bill Visnic – a contributor to Forbes – its global sales are actually up nearly two percent, this year.
So let’s re-cap the GM situation: they’ve so far admitted to being directly responsible for 51 deaths, due to a shoddy product, and their sales are up. The auto industry may not be great at branding, but GM’s corporate brand seems to be doing okay, anyway.
So, there are the three examples I went with for this one. There are a whole lot more out there, but hey, I have stuff to do!
And that stuff definitely isn’t drinking a Budweiser. And hopefully you’re thinking cuddly kittens instead of rabid spider monkeys.
If you have any questions about this post, or anything else you’ve found on our gutsy, somewhat maniacal site, feel free to give us a jingle, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And with that, I’ll close in my usual way with a good old-fashioned…
Stay gutsy, gang!
LinkedIn – What Are the Real Small Business Survival Rates?
Inc – The Top 5 Reasons Small Businesses Fail
USA Today – GM Victims’ Fund Closes with 51 Deaths – So Far
Wall Street Journal – GM’s US Market Share
Forbes – General Motors Global Sales Edge up 2 Percent, China Remains GM’s Largest Market