Here’s an interesting thought I had recently: you don’t market a product, but rather a brand. Many business owners don’t understand this.

Granted, this should not be news to someone like myself who claims to be a marketing professional, but it is a truism that is easy to forget amid the daily pressures of business…

Think about it, a brand is what sets you apart from the competition! Farmers “brand” their cattle to distinguish them from other herds. That is what you should do to your product and business.

If you spend scarce marketing money to promote the product, instead of the brand, you risk wasting it because you are not investing in your point of difference. Very few products are truly unique, or will remain unique for long enough to justify a pure investment in product awareness. You need to build a brand from day one!

By promoting the brand, you are investing in building a unique image about who you are in the minds of customers. This is marketing money well spent!

Crucially, it is worth noting that the point of difference which your brand represents is mostly not the hard, performance type stuff that is easy to touch and see, but rather the soft perceptive type stuff, such as how customers “feel” about you. There’s very little real difference between a BMW and a Mercedes apart from the image. Perception is everything, even in Business and Industrial markets.

In short, you need to invest in image building, not product selling.

Spending marketing money to promote the product is a mistake. It’s like advertising a car, instead of a BMW.

Use your marketing money to promote the right feelings, not functions.