career management, Careers, Elevator Pitch, entrepreneurs, Job Search, Personal Branding, self employed, small business

Without A Strong Brand, It’s All About Price

Mary Rosenbaum | February 16th, 2010

How would you like to charge more for your services or products than your competitors? With a strong personal brand, you can. If you don’t believe me visit your local drug store. There are generic drugs available at pennies a piece sitting alongside a branded generic product, a more expensive version of the same exact product with the difference being the name of a major drug company somewhere on the box. Companies know that consumers prefer buying brands and as a result, are willing to pay more for the PROMISE of quality.

A strong brand takes pricing out of the equation. David Avrin in his book, “It’s Not Who You Know It’s Who Knows You” says that the 4 most dangerous words to hear when pitching a client, asking for a raise, or selling a product, are: “All things being equal”.  If you hear these words then you haven’t differentiated yourself from your competitors; you haven’t effectively communicated the PROMISE of quality or unique value. Instead, you are now competing on price, location or any other factors that have nothing to do with the value of the service or product you provide.

Branding isn’t limited to corporations. Are there any entrepreneurs, small businesses or professionals who would rather focus on pricing issues when making their pitch instead of on the quality of their offerings? With a strong personal brand, a reputation that is substantiated by results, the focus will be on your differentiating PROMISE of value. (See an earlier post that can help you in defining your personal brand at bit.ly/56nIeA)

Here are some defining characteristics that are the underpinnings of a strong brand.

1. Quality – It’s what clients value and are willing to pay a premium for if it is what they can expect. Think Toyota and how the brand has been hurt by the quality control issues affecting accelerators on their cars.

2. Reliability – Delivering results as promised and as expected each and every time builds credibility and brand loyalty. Negative surprises hurt your brand. Part of Toyota’s brand has been the safety of their vehicles. The recent events have called into question their reliability in delivering safe cars to families who have relied on them for decades.

3. Consistency – Clients like knowing what to expect from you and what value you provide. Staying on brand all the time and being able to clearly and consistently describe your unique PROMISE of value is key to developing and maintaining a strong brand.

So, if there ever was a question in your mind about the value of a strong personal brand for your business or your career take a look around at your local drug store or grocery store and see how your purchasing decisions are affected by strong brands, brand recognition and brand loyalty when the same products are available at a lower cost.

Are there other examples that you can think of where strong brands command premium prices for products or services that are not considered premium?