Three Ways To Drive Brand Value

If You Think Your Product is a Commodity, Think Again.

Early in my career I had the opportunity to work for one of the most iconic brands in home design – Kohler Co. Prior to working at Kohler, I never thought much about the difference between sink or faucet brands. After all, wasn’t a sink a sink?

I quickly saw just how flawed my thinking was.

Kohler differentiated its products with a focus on design, form and function. The industry had never before marketed plumbing fixtures as an object of craftsmanship and beauty. Kohler’s approach elevated brand perceptions, equating its products to works of art. And this drove the company’s exponential growth.

Throughout my career, I’ve applied this learning, and have identified three critical steps companies can take to elevate the value of their products, driving both growth and brand reputation.

1. Change your Point of View.

As a strategic marketer, view commodity as an opportunity to drive shifts in value perceptions. Create an identity and promise that is uniquely yours, and compelling enough to drive sales, repeat purchase and ultimately, brand affinity. In this way, you can begin to define value from the eyes of the end user or consumer and what’s most important or meaningful to them.

2. Redefine the value of your product’s function.

Change how people value what your product does and why it is critical. For example, our client, Genesis, is a global manufacturer of cable used for wiring electrical and safety networks in commercial and home environments. Once seen as a commodity purchase, we’ve shifted the focus on why the right cable is essential. It’s critical security and life safety systems in hospitals and schools, global intelligent building systems and more. Our strategies have focused on why cable is critical, even in a wireless world.

3. Make your product differentiators mean more.

Give your audience a reason to take notice, see relevance in your claim and take action. Companies continually make claims that their product is the best or the highest quality. Now, evolve that claim by communicating how ‘high quality’ directly benefits your audience. For Genesis, quality equates to building reputational trust, increasing dealer profitability, delivering a hassle-free experience and creating confidence that the product works – every time, for every application. Now customers can easily see why Genesis Cable is the better choice.

No matter the industry, no matter the product, whether you’re a challenger or established brand, every company can bring more meaning to the perceived value it delivers. Value in terms of criticality of function and impact, as well as how it is differentiated among its competitive set. 

When done right and executed strategically via integrated marketing designed to reach and anticipate audience behaviors, your brand will rise above. Your claim will be believed. And you will establish the market perceptions needed to win long term. 

Jill Schroeder President

Jill has 20-plus years of strategic marketing experience supporting national and global brands across B2B, B2C and technology markets, including such brands as Kohler, Kohl’s, Johnson Controls, Genesis, RJW Logistics Group and numerous Silicon Valley tech start-ups.

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