My take on the topic…

Why should a legitimate business need to worry about branding?

Well, if you wait long enough, any type of business is bound to be commoditized at some point. Actually, they even managed to commoditize artistic creation! They have reality TV shows to dig up disposable singers, don’t they?

How fast your business is going to be commoditized depends on how easy it is to replicate. But eventually, you’ll end up with serious and strong competitors. At that point, the only thing that will distinguish you from the competition is your brand!

Your brand is the ultimate point of differentiation that will allow you to charge a non commodity price for a commodity product or service.

Of course, the competition will work on their branding too. So, if you’re in the market for the long run, if you are a legitimate business, then you definitely need to worry about branding from day 1. The earlier you start, the more time you have to become the “number 1” brand in your customers’ subconscious mind.

No matter how hard you try, your customers/clients will not remember a dozen facts about you. Maybe they’ll remember 1, or 2… or 3 if they are really paying attention! However, a catchy brand is one easy thing for them to remember. “Google” or “Yahoo” are perfect examples of this. (By the way: “Ask”… is probably not so good… since it doesn’t really differentiate from the surronding noise — in the search area, everyone is “asking” the engines…

Now, when you are working on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and have pretty high Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) placements, it’s easy to forget about the brand. Because people will click on your site anyway and you can get away with poor branding as long as you have a good sales copy…

However, search is not everything! At any given time of the day, there’s still more people acting in the real world than searching on the web. Those people talk… How do you expect your customers to tell a friend about your site if they can’t quote it easily by it’s name? “” is definitely easier to quote than “”.

The same applies to podcasts: experts of any field will debate publicly about related topics. When it comes to giving examples, what do you think they will be likely to cite spontaneously? “” or “”?

Finally, at some point you’ll probably want to sponsor events or other products/services. At this point you’ll want your brand to appear in prominent places for potential customers to see and remember. Again what kind of brand do you think will be easier to remember when read off a flyer or a paper ad?

It is pretty hard to change your brand once you are already known to a given population with your first brand. It will be even harder if your brand is your domain name and you have spent years getting this domain name known to both users and search engines. 301’s will only get you half way…

Because even online, even on search results, the absolute minimum the lazy user is presented with is about 10 results to choose from. Maybe 5 to 8 above the fold. If he happens to spot a brand he even remotely recognizes in this list, he will be more likely to trust that result rather than the ones that look like spam.

And the more spam, the more junky domains, the more disposable brands there will be, the more the users will learn to go straight to the brand(s) they trust, or at least the brand(s) they have already heard of before.

The same way users have developped graphic ad blindness, they will evolve into developing junky-brand blindness. I bet on that!

For these reasons, legitimate businesses should not only worry about branding, but furthermore: they should start to worry about long term branding as soon as possible!

Have you thought about it yet? ;)

Comments from long ago:

Comment from: Okafor David

I am definitely branding soon! I have been thinking about it for years now.

2007-04-27 02-45