Entrepreneurs and small business owners spend quite a lot of time and money building their brand identity. Building a brand means more than finding the right market for a product and reaching that market effectively. Building a brand is about separating your brand from the product and creating an intangible value associated with your brand. Once you’ve established your brand identity, then you find the market that wishes to identify with your brand and begin reaching that market. When your brand presence and identity are established, effective marketing then connects your product with your brand.
Your product is a tool to represent your brand, but your product is not the brand itself. When a customer buys into your brand, they’re buying into the values and attitude of your identity. A strong brand identity associates your brand with a set of values that represents the ideal consumer. The focus of the brand identity is not on the benefits of the product, but on the identity of the consumer. Your brand must stand for the same values and ideals as its consumers.
Once you’ve identified your target market and synchronized your brand identity with the values of that market, your market needs to be made aware of your brand. Marketing that focuses on the benefits of the product bypasses the market segment that personalizes your brand messaging. This market wants to participate in your brand because they believe it upholds their values. They are less interested in the utility of a product than on finding out what your brand believes in and how it works to further that ideal.
While segments of your market will certainly consume your product for its actual benefits, another segment of your market is more interested your product’s connection to your brand. Your product must absolutely have value in itself, but it must also benefit your brand messaging by reinforcing your brand values. A product with a direct effect on your brand values provides immediate connection. Effective marketing must then bridge the communication gap where that value connection is less than clear.
Brand messaging as a marketing tool focuses less on the benefits of the product and more on the values and intention of the company. The target market of a brand message chooses to consume based on their perception of your product’s benefit to their own value system.