I've been saying the word "quality" so often these days.
- Use quality ingredients/materials.
- Be seen as a quality brand.
- Give out quality information.
- Cultivate quality relationships with quality customers.
I know that you know quality is good. I also know that you know why. But I'll just lay out the reasons so that we can both think more on the topic.
Quality has to be seen to be believed.
If you invest in your customers, you win. And that means investing in branding.
It sounds a bit odd that by investing in branding, you're investing in your customers. Why spend more money on something the customers can't actually use?
Why can't we just take the money we allocated for branding and use it to make the products better instead?
Quality of your actual products is not enough to convince people to buy. Customers have to see this quality even before they ever buy something. How do they do that? Through branding and marketing!
Customers can "see" and judge the quality of your products from your branding. The branding makes them think, "This looks good. I want to try this!"
If customers can't "see" the quality, you will be OVERLOOKED. Customers WILL judge a product by its branding.
But many people don't get this. They don't acknowledge branding and/or marketing as a way to create a good reputation with customers. They see it as something unnecessary / exaggerated / dishonest. They don't spend the necessary time and money to cultivate a brand that can be seen as high quality.
Branding is how you can attract more customers and scale up your business.
I'm not by any stretch implying that the majority of business owners are stingy humans who refuse to care about their customers. NOPE. I know that that's incredibly untrue.
I believe that most business owners actually channel their profits back into their own products. They use quality materials or ingredients and are very generous with their portions.
That's why they cut back on other expenses (i.e. branding). It shows you how passionate they are about their own products. They believe in word-of-mouth marketing.
But I also believe that most business owners want their business to be BIGGER. MORE WELL-KNOWN.
Bigger than their friends and friends of friends. Bigger than just relatives and friends of relatives. We're talking about being able to attract strangers as customers. Getting customers from all over the world.
If you want to sell to a friend of a friend, that mutual friend can put a good word in. Praise your product to the person.
But it's not possible when you're selling to strangers. These people have to be convinced without having a mutual friend recommend you.
Your branding is what speaks to them. Strangers have to feel that your brand is a great brand just by looking at it. Strangers don't have
Branding is only dishonest when it doesn't match people's expectations.
Exaggerated / dishonest marketing happens when customer don't get what they paid for. The actual value (in the product) is much lower than the perceived value (brand materials). This is bad.
Without branding, you'll find it hard to get customers interested in your products in the first place. If the customers think your products don't have any value, they won't buy.
That's why I say that branding = investing in your customers. If you honestly and passionately believe that your product or service is good, you owe it to your customers to present it in the best light possible. And you owe it to yourself to grab the best chance of succeeding.