- Brands that ignore brand building in favor of sales can lose both strategically.
- Focusing on tactics that ensure “sell-through” vs. your brand diminish brand equity and makes it easier for consumers to switch based on pricing.
- Too much emphasis on branding, however, can lead to products sitting on the shelf unless your brand is important to your audience.
As more research on what CEOs value in their brands comes to light, it’s apparent that there is a huge disconnect between brand building and sales. CEOs are often focused on the bottom line and want immediate results from marketing initiatives, while marketers are focused on the building block of branding.
As consumers come out of their pandemic cocoon will they go back to their favorite brands or will they continue to shop based on bargains? There. is no one right answer to that question. It depends on your product category.
Private label sales have been growing in double digits thanks to great products and packaging, but there are still some product categories in which brands rule, like coffee. In the auto market, where prices are rising quickly, there is lull differentiation in models. One SUV can look like dozens of others, but at the same time, brands like Subaru have a very loyal following.
Some brands focus too much money on brand-building, which is irrelevant to consumers. For many, it’s about the product. Oreo’s make a great product, and research showed that most consumers didn’t care about their social branding efforts. Products who pay extra for prominent locations, like endcaps, in stores will get an increased sell-through but will customers return when they are moved to the aisles?
Marketers need to get into their current customer’s heads. They need to understand why they became customers and keep coming back to the brand. My experience shows that the product and product performance are a lot more important than the brand itself and are a huge part of any brand.
The other huge elephant in the room is brand growth vs. brand profitability. Too many brands feel the need to keep growing, and they forecast double-digit brand sales increases. However, very few brands grow in double digits while maintaining profit margins. Growth may be a strategic element of your company, but marketers have to determine if that growth is there and the costs associated with rapid growth.
Marketers who make too many changes to strategic marketing plans also can lose a lot of customers. There is a lot of hype within the business news cycles and too many people react without thinking through what it means to their brands.