Thursday, 14 November 2013

Brands vs Products–The War to Win Sales

Michael KorsWe are used to being bombarded by brand imagery – so much so that we ignore much of it.  Brand imagery, whether on billboard, tv or glossy magazine ad is there to reinforce the message that the brand wants us to assimilate but it so often fails because what we are really interested in is products, and it is products that get our hard earned cash. 

The proof is in the pudding, Apple was on a big slide down until it introduced products that people coveted and wanted to rush to the stores and buy.  Likewise fashion brands, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Chanel, are only as good as the products they offer.  No amount of brand marketing and expensive imagery will rival that ‘I must have that’ moment when something we actually want (need/love/lust after/covet) appears in front of us.

A great deal of money is spent on developing brands and brand marketing.  Drive potential customers to the stores to look at a specific brand’s products and if the products match our desires (and our wallets) we will buy.  We will not buy solely because of the brand, even though we may veer towards it because the noise that the brand has made has got inside our heads.

Having worked for many years in the fashion industry I know only too well how the importance of the brand – its image – its place in the brand pecking order can take precedence over the importance of offering covetable and – dare I say it – commercial products.  And when this happens the brand frequently fails.

Brands have to be in business for the bottom line.  It’s the only thing that matters in this commercial world.  And that means offering cleverly thought out products that set them apart from the rest, as well as being in keeping with brand identity.  Not an easy task, which is why so many fail. 

The rewards of combining clever brand management and marketing whilst at the same time recognising the importance of a regularly updating product range within the brand’s parameters, that entices and drives customers to buy, are huge.

Unfortunately, again referring to fashion brands, there are very few brands who have a strong enough equity not to need to go down the line into mass market at some level.  Louis Vuitton and Hermes to name but two.  Chanel!  Dior!  Do I hear you cry?  But there is always the lipstick……  Does this diminish the brand?  I don’t think so.  It creates awareness, it allows those who would not otherwise be able to buy into a brand to feel a part of it. 

Taking an upscale brand and creating an affordable diffusion product line, as long as it retains the handwriting of the brand overall, can only increase awareness and profits.   The winner of the war to win sales will cleverly combine both. 

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