I have seen seven common mistakes made by many companies while branding their consumer durables.
From your coffee maker to your electric toaster — your hairdryer, your smartphone, your washing machine your electric toothbrush — it’s all in the consumer durable category. But what makes a brand more successful than the others? It may be down to how the brand is perceived by its consumers.
Consumers may not know the specific tangible differences between two brands — however, they still have preferences and these preferences are only created because of a brand’s image and its positioning in the markets.
Isn’t your company name and logo enough as branding?
The answer is No. Your company (product) logo and name are part of your company’s identity. They do not convey everything that your brand stands for — the quality, the values, and most importantly — the core values and purpose of your brand. A comprehensive branding and positioning exercise is extremely important for your brand — for this is going to be your product truth for years to come. To put it simply — the perception of your brand, your reason for existence, your logo, and the advertising — all of these must come together in your brand identity.
Branding your product properly improves recognition, it helps your consumer build trust in your brand, it helps you build relationships with your consumers better. It adds financial value and generates new customers too. But, even when branding is so crucial for consumer durables, companies make these 7 common mistakes while branding their products:
1: Not aligning with your purpose and core values
For a brand, the most important part of their positioning exercise is to understand what their purpose and their core values are. A brand and the core team driving it– need to define what its brand stands for. Then all the actions the brand takes must be aligned with that Purpose. Any divergence creates dissonance, lack of trust, and, eventually, chaos.
2: Underestimating or underplaying your brand
Another common mistake most brands make is underestimating their brand story– it is important for you to not just believe in your brand, but also to believe in its true potential. A brand is only what you make of it. You cannot expect your consumers to buy into a story even you are not completely convinced.
3: Keep it simple, silly!
The KISS philosophy is universal– and even more so for consumer-focused brands like durables. If your communications are unclear you are only going to confuse your audience. A classic example of this is Onida — one of the most popular brands in the 80s and the 90s — Onida was rightly called “neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride”. The devil with his two red horns became the identity for Onida and in fact, took the brand to new heights. It was easily one of the best marketing strategies of all time for Indian consumer durable products. The connection is established with the audience was so strong that Onida was initially able to withstand the big-bang entry of the Korean TV brands, LG and Samsung. Over time the brand’s influence has waned as a new generation unfamiliar with the devil came in. Life has come full circle as in 2018, the devil has made a comeback and has become the focus of Onida’s efforts to capture more market share.
4: Using cliché design elements that make you merge into the background with other brands
It is extremely important to have well-considered and relevant design elements feeding into your Brand identity. Using elements just because they are trendy or popular, essentially succumbing to the entropy of the marketplace can hurt the brand. Microsoft, for example, while introducing Edge, created a logo uncomfortably like the Internet Explorer logo. Everyone from the early days of the internet has their own stories of that departed browser. And the Twitterverse along with the critics delivered their judgment, a big no! Why make a new browser and give it almost the same identity — colors and logo
5: Inconsistency across channels
It is important for every brand to have a strong and consistent message on every channel — from your ATL advertising, your social media to your outdoor and your BTL activities — if your brand truth is not changing — why should your messaging? Of course, you may extend your messaging and talk in context when it comes to social media and BTL but overall –consistency is critical. For example, when Apple launched iPhone 6 with a brilliant campaign — focusing only on the phone camera, the campaign was a simple, one-line statement — “Shot on an iPhone”. And from their social media to their ATL to their BTL, you only saw them talking about the wonderful camera features. They even crowd-sourced their social media content by asking people to click pictures on their iPhones and share them. That’s a great example of the consistency a brand needs.
6: Managing your social media responsibly
Even the biggest brands have made the mistake of not managing their social media responsibly — Right after the launch of the iPhone 6 Plus, many users were worried about their iPhones bending in their pockets and breaking. This is when someone from LG’s (France) social media team decided to be creative and tweeted an image of some bent phones and copy that read “Your LG phone won’t bend”. As it happens, this tweet was sent from an iPhone and, sure enough, the world noticed. Needless to say, the tweet was soon deleted but it sure went down in the history of biggest social media fails by brands. For every brand, small or big, managing their social media responsibly is crucial.
7: Poor Customer Service
Customers are your priority — that’s where your focus should be. In a world where every customer is capable of becoming a broadcaster, and every poor experience has the potential to “go viral”, customer service is also a part of the overall brand experience. This is especially true in the durable space where the products cost more and is expected to last longer. Customers with problems should be handled with caution. Focus on creating intuitive and effective customer care processes and on training your customer care executives. Pay attention to the online universe for negative comments and complaints -and be ready to provide a customer care experience that fits into the overall brand story seamlessly.
Don’t let your consumer-durable product become a victim of poorly-considered branding. Take expert help, know your brand’s essential truths and stick to them. Remember — products are made in factories but brands are created in the mind!