Discount Branding and Why it Never Works
How to maintain your brand equity through difficult times
I think it would be safe to say that if you own a business, run a business, or manage a business, you have had a few sleepless nights even when things were going well. Sure, you follow the adage of “never let them see you sweat”, but inside, you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, particularly when things begin to slow and the projections you had for the month fall short of expectations.
It is during these times that special attention must be paid to maintaining the integrity of your brand. Unfortunately though, most businesses forget about their commitment to building and maintaining brand equity and head directly into crisis mode, and crisis mode generally results in discounts, sale pricing, and an attempt to attract transactional customers.
While this may help to maintain the status quo, it rarely leads to positive long-term results. More importantly, you begin to slowly water down your message, losing the relational clients you have worked so hard for. This loss of brand equity and loyalty is difficult, if not impossible, to regain once it is gone.
Think about it: has your product or service declined in value since yesterday? No, of course not. Well then, why would you even think of not charging what your product or service is worth? Your brand is worth more than that, and it is vital that both you and your consumer regard it as such. Truth be told, once you head down the road of price-point marketing, you will soon find yourself chasing after a dog that will never be caught.
Successful businesses understand the difference between transactional and relational consumers. Transactional consumers will drive to the end of the Earth, or at least the State Line, to get the lowest price possible. They general end up sucking up resources and time as they force you and your staff to work harder for less. Relational consumers, on the other hand, will always value YOUR brand because of the promises you have made regarding quality, service, and overall awesomeness. They provide you with both loyalty and, wait for it – advocacy, the single most powerful form of advertising available. They rarely look for the best bargain, but rather, the best quality. These are the customers we all want.
If you are an avid reader of our writings here at RUSSO, you’ll notice that we talk about advocacy and results quite a bit. The reason? It’s what we strive for with every branded touchpoint we develop. They are also unattainable as soon as you lose focus on your core promise and begin discounting the value of your product or service.
Remember, your promise is your brand. As soon as you begin slashing prices, you could begin to lose credibility. So before you run to the weekly paper and begin announcing a fire sale, think about the ramifications of those actions. Yes, there may still be difficult times ahead, but those who stay on course and remain true to their promise will find their brand is not only intact, but also stronger than ever.
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