What makes companies like Apple, Bose and Microsoft so compelling?
Brand loyalty is one of the most powerful marketing concepts available to companies today. When executed properly, brand loyalty campaigns can help an organization withstand economic recessions, a slow product launch and several other types of commercial setbacks. The main reason that brand loyalty is such an important key to business success is that it allows companies to sell much more than their products: it lets them sell a lifestyle, attitude, or emotion. How Brands Go Beyond Products Once a company decides to sell a certain service or product, they also need to decide on their unique selling proposition, or USP. Having a unique selling proposition is the foundation of connecting a brand with a specific idea or belief in the mindset of a customer. According to Entrepreneur, a unique selling proposition pinpoints what makes your company unique in a world of competition. Once companies have been able to identify their unique selling point, their next step is to use this USP to help them promote their brand, instead of focusing solely on products. Many brands in the past have been able to do this successfully. The Branding Prowess of Apple Apple is one of the best examples of branding in the entire world. Very few products that the company has created were the first of its kind: RCA and Cowon released MP3 players before the iPod came out, while Microsoft and Intel released tablets before the iPad. If Apple hasn't been the first to market with any of its technology, how have they been able to enjoy such great sales figures for so many of their products? The answer is in branding. Apple's brand is built on sleek, simple yet functional products that are attractive. When the iPhone came out, Apple rejected the notion of having numerous buttons and switches and instead included a single home button with their sleek touchscreen phone. Apple's brand goes beyond its products: consider the retail Apple stores that have popped up all across the country. These stores are marked by simple displays, lots of bright lighting, and little color except for white and gray. The environment of the Apple store is consistent with Apple's unique selling proposition: sleek, stylish products that are also functional. Gatorade: Fuel For Your Inner Athlete Another excellent example of branding prowess can be found by looking at the sports beverage company Gatorade, which is a subsidiary of Pepsi. The products that Gatorade sells are sports drinks, but when you look at their marketing messages and their product ambassadors, it is easy to see what their USP is: high-level athletic performance. Sports stars like Derek Jeter, Serena Williams, and Peyton Manning have all been included in the company's advertising campaigns. In fact, a recent commercial with Manning portrays a store clerk refusing to sell Gatorade to a consumer because he is not sweating. It is clear that Gatorade is not only selling a sports drink: they are selling athleticism and fitness. Tying It All Together With Desirability What do all of the USPs of companies like Apple, Gatorade, Microsoft, and Bose all have in common? They are all desirable traits. Everyone wants to have a good-looking product like the ones Apple sells, just like everyone wants to perform at a high level on the sports field like the professional athletes that drink Gatorade. By creating a desirable unique selling proposition that appeals to a large base of customers, companies can enhance their marketing by selling more than products: they can sell a culture, a belief, or attitude that helps attract people to their organization and stay loyal to the kinds of products and services they offer. But What About Recognition and The Pesky Enterprise? But all of this begs a question and brings us to a new point. When it comes to brands there is recognition and desirability. Often times, as it pertains to enterprise solutions, there is a strong distinction between the two. For instance brands like IBM and Microsoft are giants in their field, but is their technology desirable or recognizable? Now when a recognizable brand meets the market with desired products they have a perfect storm for product adoption. But often those products and services are limited. A great example in our market, the Cloud Video industry, would be big name companies like Microsoft and Google that have Skype and Hangouts. While those products are useful for the consumer, they hardly meet the demands of the enterprise, however, they have a strong impact on awareness, which can springboard development of a product that can truly meet the needs of the enterprise while being desirable to the consumer. Stay tuned next week for our second part in this series that discusses what makes a cloud video solution both enterprise-friendly and desirable.