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Have you noticed the number of white label products emerging on the shelves and cutting into the name brand market?  While grocery shopping recently, I was finding it harder and harder to locate the name brands for the products I typically buy. The shelves were overflowing with the the store’s own label. According to a Harvard Business Review article, “more than 50% of U.S. manufacturers of branded consumer packaged goods make private-label goods as well.”These products may be price lower but may lack some of the benefits of the brand, for example better quality ingredients.

Avoid a price war by creating a clear and compelling value.

Price wars are often an indicator that customers don’t understand the brand’s value.

When buyers don’t understand the value of a brand, then price plays a larger role in the decision making process. The more you can demonstrate the value of your brand, in terms of delivering the same or better experience or facilitating a key requirement (such as security, certainty, control) or enabling people to manage their lives or resources better than a more expensive option, the more likely you brand can thrive.

While it may seem like it takes a lot of money to create a brand, there are actually a few things any size company can do to begin creating a lasting world-class brand. These questions will jump start developing your brand strategy:

  • Who are we and what do we stand for?
  • Why did we start this business in the first place?
  • What is it that our customers get from us that they can’t acquire from anyone else?
  • What are 3-5 reasons customer’s enjoy doing business with us?
  • Where do our passion and professionalism converge?

Upon answering these questions you will begin to define your brand promise. We encourage you to formally capture the answers in a written document that articulates your brand vision. Once you have this starting point, it’s time to validate your assumptions with some research. Test your brand vision with employees, customers, prospects, and partners to see whether your assumptions play out.

After you complete your testing, move on to the second step. Determining the personality and identity of your brand. Then take the final step and articulate the clear idea of the experience you want prospects and customers to have when engaging with your company. The experience you create is what brings your brand promise come to life. The experience embodies the way the phone is answered, how products or services are delivered, your quality/service philosophies, your approach to the sales process, the style of communication, the value placed on people. If a key part of your brand is responsiveness but no one ever answers the phone or returns phone calls, regardless of whether its to a customer or someone else, than your promise is in jeopardy. 

Maintain Brand Value to Offset Price Wars

Maintain Brand Value to Offset Price Wars

Three Tenets to Maintaining Your Brand’s Value

It’s a slippery slope once your customer opts for a price-based product that adequately meets their needs. It’s challenging and expensive to win-back a customer. What are your options to keep competitors at bay? Here are the three musts to maintain the value of your brand:

a) Differentiation: Differentiation is the process of distinguishing a product or offering from others, to make it more attractive to a particular target market. You can never become lax when it comes to differentiation. As your product/service/company/brand becomes less new in the market and less differentiated you are potentially creating opportunities for competitive alternatives. It’s critical to maintain your differentiation. The basis of differentiation can change over time and companies commonly utilize one of these cornerstones: quality/reliability/dependability, functionality, performance, channel/convenience/ease of use or implementation, total cost of ownership/ROI.

b) Product life cycle management (PLM). Different strategies are required as a product goes through its life cycle. The conditions in which a product is sold changes over time and must be managed as it moves through its various stages. The PLM process typically manages the design, development, production, tools, training, documentation, operations, support/maintenance associated with solutions.

c) Leverage partner and customer relationships: Maintaining or even improving your brand position requires leveraging customer and partner relationships. Keep the forefront in mind in how to make this a win-win scenario and how to gain the insight you need to reach out and connect with existing and prospective customers and partners. It will be important to have clarity around how both parties can benefit, gain additional insights and/or a sustainable competitive advantage.

Avoid ending up in a price war; make sure your incorporate these three tenets. Learn more with our positioning and messaging lab.

 

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