In the modern buying process, a strong brand is more important than ever. It’s easy to say and we consultants often throw ourselves with the term – but what then is a “strong brand”?
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Many people make the connection “strong brand = well-known brand”. But that is not necessarily true. My definition of a strong brand is a brand that drives behavior, which in most cases means that it creates associations with the target group that makes it want to buy more and / or is willing to pay more for a product or service. The fact that a brand is popular can contribute to its strength, but not necessarily.
We often use two well-known brands as examples of the above: Saab and Ryanair.
Saab’s brand (for cars) was very strong in the early 2000s. Saab was a beloved car with a loyal crowd of buyers. Saab was praised in various contexts for its ability to innovate and as an innovator of the industry. But despite the fact that very many people “liked” Saab, far too few actually bought the car. Saab was, in short, well-known and well-liked for the wrong things – things that did not drive sales. We know how the car brand Saab came to a sad end.
Ryanair is a brand that evokes at least as strong emotions, probably stronger and often negative. But despite the fact that Ryanair is most often allowed to run amok in the media due to lack of security, poor personnel policy and strange inventions to save on costs, it was one of the world’s most profitable airlines before Corona – and will probably be again. Everything that is written about them makes us associate it with being cheap. Ryanair is well known and unpopular for exactly the right parameters – the ones that actually drive sales.
And this is the core. Building a strong brand is not a beauty contest – it is a sales contest. The brand should make sure that you are in the match – and once you are there, sell more and get paid better than your competitors.