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  • Writer's pictureJim Squires

To brand or not to brand?

The question doesn’t surface when discussing a company or a new product because the answer seems to be self-evident however, when it comes to commodities and services I’m often asked, “Should we brand this?” The short answer is, “Hell yes.”

If you’re thinking, “We skip the hassle of branding by calling our stuff what it is,” here’s a dirty little secret most B2B organizations don’t know or understand... you can’t not brand something. Fact is, if you choose to call something what it is, you’ve just created a generic brand. Now, sit back and watch management try to figure out why customers won’t pay premium prices for products and services that are actively marketing as generics.

Of course, a primary goal of branding is to create the perception that what’s being offered is special and unlike anything else out there. That means services, in and of themselves, qualify. To be clear, a service doesn't have to (directly or indirectly) generate revenue in order to be worthy of branding. All you need to remember is, "If it’s worth selling, it’s worth branding."

Want employees to join an internal, employee-led, company-endorsed professional development or community-engagement organization? Brand it. Got a presentation where you’re going to tell people the results of your research? Brand it. Want to differentiate yourself in an overly-crowded marketplace with a program that pays customers cash money for bathroom/bath tub home improvement project referrals? Brand it.

What a coincidence... I recently wrapped up a service-specific branding project with Re-Bath for their just-launched customer referral program, Splash. Yep, we went through multiple rounds of name and brand identity options but, each version leveraged true branding best practices (lots of people mistake 'most common practices' for 'best practices' when it comes to branding - I’m looking at you, Pragmatic Marketing).

Thanks to a "pro-branding" mindset and a little bit of hard work, Re-Bath now has Splash, a differentiating, value-added customer service program and asset. And, they’ll have Splash as a powerful tool for their sales force to leverage for as long as they’d like. Man, I love helping companies by creating something from nothing that demonstrably adds to their overall value!

Want to know the true best practices for branding (and reap the rewards)? I’ve done it countless times so, drop me a line and let's talk about branding the next thing you're “selling” - I’d love to show you how it's done!

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