Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Location: Cleveland, OH
|Posted: Dec Sun 17, 2006 3:12 pm Post subject: Associate with a Brand
|Associate with a Brand
The Profit Coach Strategies, Tips & Inspiration to Grow a Profitable Business or Practice
The Top 10 Reasons WHY you need to ASSOCIATE with a BRAND in the digital age!
In the coming age of independence, where a vendor can be anywhere, where virtual corporations will spring up and dissipate, only to be reformed out of the digerati, over and over again; associating with or building a brand will become key to the digital entrepreneur.
1. People Trust Brands.
In the non-digital age, in fact, even before the age of information, people did business on a handshake. After the civil war, with the advent of national railroads and telegraph, people began to do business with people they had never seen. Companies used distributors to package and distribute their products (sound familiar) and found that they could not trust them to provide the consistency required for high quality perception.
So companies like Campbell Soup, Diamond Match and American Tobacco began vertical integration in order to provide consistent quality--ultimately creating the first national brands. This vignette is indicative of what will take place in the digital economy as services and vendors proliferate due to the use of the global Internet.
Digerati will find that by being associated with a brand, they immediately crossover the barrier of mistrust as the Brand "speaks" for them.
2. Brands Aggregate.
One of the most interesting phenomena brought forward by the digital age is the ability to aggregate customers--easily. Those ever-important eyeballs and the competition for them has sensitized us to the power of "aggregation."
We witnessed the growth of aggregators early on with the formation of the department stores and then onto the malls, discounters and large content stores--like home depot. People flock to these aggregators for one-stop shopping and just like them, the Internet will easily advance this concept through portals and aggregating methods of community and content providers--faster than ever before.
The Brand in a sense is a form of aggregation. In its purest sense, it provides a cloak of certainty over its offerings and establishes—as related in point #1--trust. Branding will synthesize with aggregation and we will see the Wal-Mart model proliferate throughout the digital landscape as aggregators use branding philosophy to differentiate themselves from one another.
3. Brands Differentiate.
Perhaps a little of the old school is in order, but it is a fact that Brands differentiate products, services and information. My brand is better than your brand and here is why.... By allowing the brand to become a descriptor and provide credibility for your offerings, you in effect differentiate yourself through the brand. For Example, take COACHU for instance (www.coachu.com) an Internet coach training company. Graduate from coachu's training program and you have differentiated yourself from other coaching entities and thus fall under the umbrella of the COACHU Brand of coaching.
4. Brands create Critical Mass.
Customers, customers, customers--who needs 'em? YOU DO and so does everybody else! Branding will become the definitive method in attracting eyeballs in the digital age. The BRAND itself will become a magnet and will intensify the customer relationship as successful experience with the BRAND continues over time. These positive experiences will drive more and more critical mass to online communities, stores and portals.
5. Brands are Surrogates for FACE-TO-FACE RELATIONSHIPS.
Over time, the f2f relationship has provided the credibility one needs for cues to responsibility, reliability and assurance. Without a relationship, many people will just not do business with you. However, over time, people begin to trust in the power of a brand. Even today, the power of the Campbell Soup Brand is as strong as ever and who has seen anybody make Campbell Soup...? We trust Campbell Soup because Campbell Soup is mmmmmgood! Every grocery store, even some discount centers sell Campbell Soup, yet it is not who sells it, but the BRAND that keeps people's trust at a high level. BRANDING will be key to the digital age in the era of "faceless" commerce.
6. Brands create SYSTEM INTEGRITY.
One of the most out of whack items in the digital age is systems integrity. It is so easy to leap frog from technology to technology, all the while leaving a wake of unfinished, partially completed and non-standard products, services and information. With the digital age becoming so adaptive, it is no wonder that the landscape is strewn with partial projects, services and information that goes nowhere, yet is everywhere. When you brand you must establish consistency, standards and measurements and so goes system integrity. Tighter integrity means higher quality, faster evaluation of success over time and other issues that keep the brand ideas integrals.
7. Brands create INCREASING RETURNS.
One of the most disproven economic theories of the modern age has been the concept of diminishing returns. It is clear that MS Windows demonstrates the effectiveness of increasing returns and while expenditures are made to update and change Windows, nothing represents as clearly the concept of increasing returns. Brands play the same role. Through leveraging, expanding and co-branding we see that a well established brand has the power to create increasing returns.
8. Brands can take the place of organizational structure?
I expect to get some flack on this one! How in the world could a Brand take the place of organizational structure? Let me explain. What does structure in an organization really do? It creates trust through established norms, values and systems. What does a Brand do? Exactly the same thing. In the world of digerati, the only thing knowledge workers bring to an equation is their intellectual capital. However, in order for them to "invest" their capital they will have to have trust in the environment. And you guessed it, brand will provide the medium for intellectual capital to flow freely without constraint as people will do business--brand to brand.
9. Brands create RECIPROCITY
In a world where the only thing that binds people together may be a mutually desired outcome, reciprocity will be created through brands. Much like the mechanism described in point #8, brands will do business with brands when no other currency is available. And of course, being able to use brand to establish credibility for your brand will create the reciprocity based on issues of trust and prior success.
10. Brands create SOCIAL NETWORKS
Without f2f communication, without the visual references created through physical organization, the digital network of global interaction will create the need for social networks and for all the benefits derived from social networks. What better way to energize those networks than through branding. All of the relationship building activities taking place in brand building will promote and enhance social networks. These networks will then intertwine themselves in order to produce the effects of social interchange, now produced by organizational life.
About the Submitter: Submitted by Mike R. Jay, Practicing Organizational Coach, Executive Coach, Happeneur and writer., who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visited on the web at http://www.leadwise.com
Portions of this material were originally developed by Coach University and are used by permission. www.coachu.com. Copyright 1995-97 Coach University. All rights reserved. May be freely copied and retransmitted with this notice.
(Editors Note: The value in this article is the logic - so when someone asks you why they should be a NSP distributor rather than Brand X - It's because of the reputation of "THE BRAND")