Are You a Brand Or a Commodity?
What is a brand?
The dictionary defines it as follows: A distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence, or a combination of these items that companies use to differentiate their product from others in the market.
Further, it goes on to say once a brand has created positive sentiment among its target audience, the business is said to have built "brand equity." Some examples of businesses with brand equity are Microsoft and Coca-Cola.
So, then, what is a commodity?
According to the dictionary it's any bulk good traded on an exchange or in the cash market. If it's a product or service it means it's not distinguishable from any other product or service in its category.
Commodities are usually bought and sold based on price. Meaning if you've got the lowest price you get the sale and if you do not, you do not.
So let me ask you a question … Are you and your business a brand or a commodity?
Take my quick Brand Quiz to find out.
If you answer yes to these 5 questions, odds are you've got a brand.
(1) There is something unique about you or the product or service you offer.
(2) Your marketing focuses on this uniqueness.
(3) You're known among your ideal clients for this uniqueness.
(4) All your marketing supports this uniqueness and has a definite look and feel so it's easily recognizable as yours.
(5) You see yourself as a leader and the last thing you want to do is follow the crowd when it comes to marketing.
If you answer yes to these 5 questions, you and your business will likely fall into the commodity bucket.
(1) You know you're good at what you do but you have not identified or created a unique attribute to set you apart from others in your field.
(2) You tend to market yourself using the same language and style as others in your industry.
(3) Your marketing materials are a bit of hodge- podge of looks, colors and personalities.
(4) You've had a tough time crafting a compiling elevator pitch.
(5) You find in competitive situations you only get the sale if your price is the lowest.
If you answered "yes" to the first 5 questions of the Brand Quiz, congratulations! You know it's important to set yourself apart with a clearly defined brand.
If you found yourself answering yes to more of the commodity questions than the brand questions, all is not lost. As they say, the first step towards change is recognizing the need to change.
You now know you've got to create a brand.
Yes, even if you're just a solo-professional and you do not have a big business or a lot of products. Because if you're a coach or a consultant, you've got to give prospective clients a reason to hire you over all the other coaches and consultants out there.
(C) Copyright 2006 Debbie LaChusa