Do you have a brand, or a product – They’re not the same!

Brand/Product - What's the difference?

Reza Rezvi
Written by
Reza Rezvi

May 20, 2022

Do you have a brand, or a product – They’re not the same!

The branding godfather, Marty Neumeier, says in his book, The Brand Flip: "Companies may SELL products. But customers JOIN brands". He further adds, "They sign up with companies that see them as people, and avoid companies that see them as targets."  (I strongly recommend purchasing The Brand Flip and have inserted the cover at the end of this blog for your reference)

Let this soak in for a moment. 

By viewing your product as the brand, you've made one fatal error: you've placed your brand's destiny within your own hands. 

A brand's destiny never lies within the company, but the customer itself. You may be able to influence the brand (through smart messaging, design and/or an "experience") but customers are the ones who shape it! 

But in my experience, most companies may say they're all about their customers and providing "value" but in reality, they have a "me-first" attitude fueled by profit and revenue aka the death of a brand. In essence, you're too busy thinking about your own success versus that of your customers. 

However, when you and your customers are truly in sync, we'll that's when the magic happens, amigo!  

"How does one get in sync?", I hear you ask

It all starts with a strong purpose statement and in our case, we call it: "The Heymaker Punch": 

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Once you dissect our purpose statement, a few key things emerge: 

#1: Our Desire to “Educate” and “Empower”

Through in-person sessions, videos, blogs and educational content, we want customers to understand the "why" behind our actions. At Heymaker, we don't just carry out the function like a transaction.

What happens when someone feels empowered? Naturally they want to spread the word to their network. For instance, Hubspot does a spectacular job at this! 

#2:  The Focus on "Growing" Businesses

We pride ourselves on helping "growing" businesses.

This could range from helping a medical practitioner who just opened their own practice or a boutique fitness/tattoo studio opening up a new location because they're absolutely crushing it.

We understand that growing businesses are often working on a resourceful budget without the means to hire a seasoned full-time marketer - that’s where Heymaker comes in, and might we add, at a fraction of the cost.

#3:  Reach Unexpressed Heights

"Unexpressed”, ah our favorite keyword from the Punch!

Our mission is to enable our clients to grow and scale even beyond what they could have imagined. We achieve this by viewing brands from a critical lens to open up untapped opportunities.

Putting It All Together

Immediately, customers who resonate with the Heymaker Punch will be intrigued, regardless of whether they formally engage with our services.

Being a paying customer is not the point because again, “branding” has no correlation with transactions. Anybody who thinks it does, has a very short-sighted view. 

Products are merely just a way to lure in customers, not to retain or build loyalty. Once you master the art of retention, you are on your way to form the building blocks of a brand. 

Similarly, there will always be someone on the block offering the same product, or better, but for cheaper. If you lead with products, without a strong brand, your customers will simply use price as the benchmark as to whether or not they stay loyal. 

Story Time!

In a hypothetical (yet very real) scenario, Janet is an office manager at a private practice. She’s very prominent within the medical community and receives a modest salary of $60,000. 

The head of the practice, Nicole, instills (and breathes) the core values which revolve around treating people with care and respect. She often encourages Janet to leave the office early on slow days, provides ample vacation days, and Janet witnesses first-hand the loving rapport Nicole has with her patients. 

Janet’s strong reputation makes its way to a larger healthcare company who has been buying out all the smaller private practices. They want her to oversee all of the private practices in their portfolio and offer a salary of $85,000. Janet and Nicole are friends and while Nicole is saddened to hear the news, she says “I want you to do what’s right for you. Don’t worry about me.”

However, Janet knows that this new role would mean she’s entering the corporate side of the medical world. She also knows that her entire work-life balance will drastically change and the strong family-like culture in Nicole’s practice, which she has grown to love, will likely disappear in this new company.

Janet thinks long and hard, weighing all the pros and cons, but ultimately, she decides to stay with Nicole due to the strong culture which she and Nicole have built together. Nicole is delighted to hear the news and as a gesture of goodwill, she increases Nicole’s salary to $70,000. Later that evening, Nicole hits the club and lives her best life!

As a bonus, you can also apply the story above as an employee retention strategy!

The Brand Flip – Marty Neumeier – Greatest Hits Blog – the best business  books summerised
The Brand Flip

Key Takeaways

  • Brands create loyalty; products create transactions

  • You may be able to influence the brand but your customers solidify it

  • Create your own version of the Heymaker Punch to sync up with your target audience

  • Always lead with value, not profit