April 14, 2012

Are you a commodity?

There are idiots who will buy, after seeing a TV commercial for (I’m not making this up) “discount gold.” We don’t know how numerous they are, but some of them are likely to drive on the highways, handle sharp objects, and vote.

Any Econ professor can give you a precise definition of commodity. But throw that out.

Your product or service is a commodity if your market thinks it is; it is not if you can convince them otherwise.

You may believe you have a Unique Selling Proposition, but if your audience does not know or care (those are two very different matters) then you will be commoditized and forced to compete on price. Branding is a collective, cumulative perception of you and yourcompetition. Getting a substantial, defined market to know and care about credible differentiators should be your mission.

This leads us to the Killian Branding Box, a 3-D representation of the dynamics along the three axes of branding: strength (knowing), commoditization (differentiating), and relevance (caring about that differentiator). Your brand occupies a point in that cubic space, and so do your competitors. How can you increase the distance from them? Which axis needs the most attention and budget?