Your brand and your business are not the same thing (and one is more important).

August 27, 2014By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

By Jenny Kosek

Scenario 1: Your new product contains a unique ingredient that none of your competitors have even heard of. Your clinical trials prove that you’ve developed the most efficacious formula, and your consumer research has told you that shoppers are interested in this new product. Your packaging is gorgeous, your pricing attractive, and you make it to shelf…and don’t sell a thing.

Scenario 2: Your product is – let’s be honest – a copy of your competitors’. Same ingredients, same formula, similar packaging, maybe even a slightly higher price. Your efforts have been focused on streamlining your supply chain, hiring the best people for your team, managing your budget prudently, gaining an understanding of who your end-users really are and what matters to them, positioning your product in appropriate channels and markets, finding affordable resources to assist you, and using your marketing and social media resources to convey the core values of your business – not just your brand. And your sales are soaring.

So: which manufacturer are you?

Too often, manufacturers become too focused on building their product’s brand, and not focused enough on building their business. Your brand and your business are separate, and the distinction is important: successful businesses are resilient, flexible, and long-lasting (for instance, Colgate-Palmolive®, with 200 years of history behind it); brands are fleeting and can all but collapse if sales or consumer interest lag .

develop a solid business modelBefore getting carried away by your enthusiasm for your new product, take time to develop a sound business model that includes thoughtful budgeting, realistic sales targets, a defined mission statement, and a tactical, down-to-earth strategy for long-term growth. Recognize that you cannot successfully launch a product on your own (trust us – you can’t), and build a team of professionals around you who are also enthusiastic about business first, and brand-building second.

Remember, too, that agencies, wholesalers, retailers, and vendors you interact with are working with your business, not your brand, but to these partners, the distinction may not be as clear. This means that bad experiences with your business – missed payments, incorrect shipments, lack of communication, poor planning  – will put a bad taste in these individuals’ mouths. In their day-to-day interactions, these slighted folks will be bad-mouthing your brand. And that means they won’t recommend your product, support your product, or buy your product, costing you sales.

Build a solid business upon which to build your brand, and your chances for success will improve dramatically.

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