B4B: Branding 4 Breakfast

Some 275 Seattle area internet industry professionals gathered this past Friday in Bellevue for some serious early morning networking at the monthly Northwest Venture Group’s breakfast meeting.

The featured speaker, Chuck Peddis, president of Brand Solutions, Inc. and proud owner of the domain brand.com, provided some interesting tips for dotcoms.

According to Peddis, the key to increasing the valuation of your company is in your ability to competitively brand it in the market.

“If people don’t remember your brand name, how are they going to find you and buy your product,” questions the Bellevue Businessman.

The first step in effectively branding a product is understanding exactly what your customers want from you and giving it to them. “If nothing else, I beg you to go out to your customers, tell them why you think they buy from you, and then ask them what they think,” pleas Peddis.

But finding out what customers want is only the first step. Pettis explains that you need to understand how people feel when they successfully use your product and exploit those emotions.

“Branding alters people’s perceptions of reality. It’s all about emotion, culture, status, and how you feel about buying a particular brand.”

According to Peddis, REI discovered the benefits of branding research after changing their catalog cover based on their findings. The Seattle company began using expansive shots of natural sights with people on them that were barely visible due to the scale of the shot.

The company found that this appeal improved people’s desires to get out to those places, and hence, made them buy the required equipment from REI.

Research done by Morgan Stanley confirms the value of branding. The study found that in most cases corporate improvements in brand strategy programs produce a positive stock return.

Although the costs of banding development can be prohibitively high, Peddis notes that basic improvements in branding can be made with little financial investments.

“Spend as much as you can and still be smart,” says Peddis, noting that asking customers why they use your product is cheap and simple, and a great start to building an effective brand strategy.

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