Ask many of the worlds leading marketers and industry specialists, and they will tell you that a great brand is synonymous with success.
It is no wonder that companies guard their trademarks so fiercely when, according to the consultancy Interbrand, the value of a brand like Apple is pushing $100 billion. Another reason is presumably to protect the huge investments already made – according to WIPO, over $466 billion was pumped in to branding in one year alone by the worlds companies.
Turning a product into a household name is the stuff of corporate dreams for almost every company. But what happens when it goes too far? For decades, prominent products have been overtaken by their own branding, resulting in loss of its distinctiveness. Just look at the proof:
Hoover is now exactly the same as vacuum-cleaning your house. Dyson on the other hand retains its place as a separate brand, thanks to highlighting its unique design and engineering.
Thermos has been the go-to word for a flask designed to keep a liquid hot or cold. In fact, King-Seeley Thermos Co lost the right to the trademark in 1963
After Otis Elevator Co bought the escalator trademark from inventor Charles Seeberger, they lost a court case in 1950 as it was judged that the name was used it a generic was in its very own patents and advertising… oops!
It is of no surprise that companies like Google, Tiffany & Co, and Twitter and so cautious in the way their brand and product names are used. In fact, NetNames acts as the brand police, trawling the internet for improper and suspected fraudulent use of trademarks and stamps it out, charging anywhere from £50,000 to £200,000 per client per year. No wonder it can count over 25% of the FTSE 100 index of leading firms, and over 2,000 firms worldwide as its clients.
The key to remaining distinct in a sea of branded fish, it not just to keep saying your name over and over again. Whilst this trick might get you stuck in the mind of consumers, but it won’t tell them what you’re all about.
What are your USPs? Dyson was the first to shout about bagless suction in a world of bagged vacuums, and then again when they released their cyclone technology and ball-movement methods. Googles search engine algorithms provide the best results to the end-user and they’re not afraid to let you know it, whilst Aldi is top dog at the moment for showing how great products don’t have to cost the earth thanks to their model which reduced staff requirements and ultimately the cost to consumers.
So before you even start getting your brand known, you need to be sure what it is you want your consumers to relate to you. Is it ground breaking technology, helping the environment, top dollar customer service or fast delivery. Once you know how to stand apart from the rest, tell the world and don’t let them forget.
It isn’t just your marketing that has to convey this ever so important message – every communication you have with customers, consumers or clients has to reinforce this fact. From invoices and receipts, to whitepapers and leaflets, and even gifts and rewards, every piece of marketing material needs to ensure your brand is not at risk of losing its value.
Everything that ends up in their hands need to talk about you, rather than just say your, or your products, name. If you’re environmentally friendly, send their invoice via email. If your customer service is amazing, make sure phones are answered quickly and politely every single time. At every opportunity, talk about your USPs, show how you stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
And don’t let this momentum drop just because you’ve already managed to make a sale. Any reward or loyalty programme needs to keep this trend going – if you’re going to say thank you, make sure your brand ends up in their hands and that they know what it is you’ve got to say to them. There’s no better way than with a prepaid incentive card, accompanied by a heartfelt, but succinct, letter inviting them back to you soon.