Branding is not a new term, in fact, it has been used to market companies for years, but marketing strategies have continually evolved to synchronize with customers wants and needs.
Marketing, is one of the premier components of business management and is used to observe, review, and manage B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Customer) relationships. Its purpose, is to retain and satisfy clients.
Branding, however, is a marketing practice used to identify and differentiate companies, products, services, and people from their competition.
Therefore, to properly market to customers, a brand is required, but some people question what type of branding method should be used to receive maximum ROI (Return On Investment)?
The quick answer, personal branding.
This fast response typically leads the conversation to the big question, “Why personal and not product branding?”
It is a discussion needing to be had and we will dive further into these two types of marketing methods to better understand their differences and why personal branding is best to use with today’s customers.
Personal Branding Vs. Product Branding
Let’s first look at how each of these branding methods are typically defined.
- Personal Branding: Is the building of a unique identity around an individual with a coherent and consistent message.
- Product Branding: Is how products interact with audiences through their design, logo, and messaging.
Previous selling tactics made product branding important for salespeople to use, but this type of branding is no longer the job of the employee. Product branding was how individuals lured customers into buying products through what it can do, how it looks, and why “they” should own one.
Just think of the traveling salesperson who went from house-to-house selling vacuums and others like them. The product always had the spotlight and not the individual. It should be said that product branding is still very relevant and necessary in business, but it is to be solely completed by companies and no longer that of salespeople.
The time has come for employees to focus on selling their value through the stories they share and experiences they tell to customers and to no longer heavily focus on the product. It is a concept hard to grasp for change is never easy, but a personal brand should have the ability to sell products without having to sell products.
It is your brand that sells the product for you.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin
Customers are tech savvy and with a little research, typically know what they want prior to entering the store. They most often know a lot of information about the product they want to purchase; they are just unsure of whom to buy it from, which is why personal branding is necessary.
Consumers will not only learn about products online, but they will research about you too. It is vital that you have unique and inviting content waiting there for them to discover. Personal branding has become the customer marketing practice of choice and salespeople are to incorporate this type of branding in order to connect with potential and existing customers.
People want authenticity, which is difficult for companies to produce without employee’s personal branding.
86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. (Source: Stackla)
Customers need trustworthy, transparent, and reliable relationships with those they choose to buy from.
77% of all discussions on social media are folks seeking advice, information or help. This is much easier to answer and interact as an individual as opposed to a company.
Ultimately, the type of branding salespeople choose to use is up to the customer. Product branding is where you connect people with things and personal branding is how you build connections with people.