Friday, December 01, 2006

When Is a Brand Important?

When is a brand important? Are there industries or business models in which the strength of a brand doesn't matter very much? Geoffrey Moore argues that branding isn't as important for businesses selling complex products to other businesses (B2B);
[W]hile [brand value] has extraordinary relevance to B2C volume operations enterprises, it has virtually no relevance to B2B complex systems enterprises.
The importance of brand strength hinges on the nature of the buying process.

With high-dollar custom services, the most effective sales approach usually is to facilitate a dialog with the customer to come to a mutual understanding their situation, problems, the implications of those problems, and the associated needs and payoffs. In such cases, the demonstrated understanding of the needs of the particular customer is often much more important than brand perceptions.

On the other side of the spectrum are products that address well-understood problems. The sales process for those products is more focused on demonstrating an ability to deliver the solution. A strong brand greases the wheels by tapping into preconceived notions of quality and credibility.

But even in cases where brand strength is less important, clear and consistent positioning still matters.

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