The Silent Salesmanship of Products and Services

Branding is a practice which involves an enterprise or a company giving an identity or name to a group of its products. The purpose of branding is to make the product well-known. It also makes the product unique and distinct it from other similar products.

Brand Name is the name given to a product by the company that makes it. For example, the brand name of Nestle Company’s food beverage product is Milo. Other common brand names include Eveready Battery, Toyota, Benz, Nokia, Mon Ami poster colour, Crayola crayons etc. Some products, apart from the brand name, also bear the names of particular shops and companies that produce or sell them. It is an offence punished by law to use someone else’s registered brand name for your product.

On the other hand, packaging is a collective term that refers to all kinds of containers in which goods are packed for easy and safe handling, distribution and sale. It embraces the designing and testing of containers and the looking out for suitable materials as packages. It is usually referred to as the “Silent Salesman” due to the fact that itself can sell or market the product without the producer campaigning for it. Packages are varied. Examples include boxes, cartons, wrappers, labels, baskets etc.

A wide range of materials can be used in the designing and production of packages. Some of these materials include cardboard, metal, glass, plastic, fabric, straw, polythene, Styrofoam etc. The choice of any of these materials for the building of a package is dependent on some factors. Such factors include the kind of product the package is intended to protect, its transportation, the period or duration for the safe keeping of the product etc.

Also, in the selection of a suitable material as a package for a product, the artist should consider seriously the size, shape, and design of the product as well as the background of the intended buyers or market group. This largely dictates the choice of material to be used for the designing and construction of the package.

A well designed and constructed package plays various key roles for the product, manufacturer and even the consumer. Some of the roles are:

1. Protection: It protects the product from external destructive influences such as water, gas emissions, spoilage, light, heat etc.

2. Identification: It assists greatly in the identification of the product. Without it people cannot distinguish between the product and its competitors. It prevents imitation of the product and ensures that right standards are maintained.

3. Information: A good package is informative. It informs consumers about how to use the product, store and prolong its lifespan. It also gives them information as to where and how to contact the manufacturers should they have a query about the product.

4. Convenience: Packages help in the smooth transport of products from one destination to another without difficulty. It makes the product easy and safe to handle, carry about, keep, shelve, display and open with ease.

5. Quality: A good package also enhances the quality of products. It adds an extra market value to it and ensures the promotion of its sales.

There are three main categories of packages. The type of material used for the construction of the package, the role it plays for the product and its lifespan helps us to know its category.

Primary packages are the first package that is next to the product. They usually wrap and/or seal the product and sold individually. Examples are toffee, a bar of chocolate, a box of matches, a box of chalk and a pair of socks.

Secondary packages are the second package next to the product after it has received the first or primary package. These individually packaged goods are put together (sometimes in dozens) into a large container as a unit for the market. The large container therefore is a secondary package. Examples of secondary packages include a carton of milk, a crate of minerals (Fanta) and a sachet of wrapped toffees.

The Changing Role of Product Managers and Brand Managers

The Product Manager and Brand Manager functions are very critical to an organization. These are the micro level strategists, the nerve centers at the product or brand level that can engineer the success and failure of a brand or product line.

The product and brand manager terms, though used synonymously, there is a slight difference in them, because the product managers seem to get involved in the product strategy much earlier than brand managers. The brand managers seem to get involved a bit later and some of the technicalities of the product are decided much before they get into picture. This would depend, to a large extent, on how the organizations look at the data. Not all organizations are willing to share all the data with the product managers or brand managers. Therefore, they may keep them out until the product is designed or formulated and the costs are worked out. We can also notice that a product management sounds more generic that include many brands where as a brand is more specific. But brands too have their lines though not as big as product lines.

Whatever may be the term the product and brand manager functions have been recognized as vital functions of an organization, the main liaisons in an organization linking all the functions and coordinating and guiding them to make certain that they remain within the strategic frame work developed based on the market analysis. Thus today, as in the earlier days product managers get involved in the market research, identifying market needs and segments, developing marketable product specifications, keeping quality, cost and profit in mind, develop a positioning and communication strategy, train the sales team and follow up on the launch process until the product gets stable in the market place. This is a daunting task the product managers dealt with. To be effective in technical products, the product managers needed to have technical back grounds too.

Some thought that the Product Manager will fade away as time evolves, but as time passed on, the marketing function got more and more competitive due to increasing number and diversity of the products, the more aware complex manager and the highly aggressive competitors in the market. No sector is an exception to it. It is precisely because of this trend the product manager; brand manager functions now became relevant even in service sectors like banking and finance, tourism and many more.

Product and Brand manager positions may be relevant even today, but have the organizations thought over the relevance of their job descriptions? There appears to be a lacuna in organizations coping up with the new challenges in the ecosystem. It appears that even at the corporate level, organizations are still grappling with the concept of sustainability and seem to prefer to live in the hope that “sustainability” is a fad, a passing notion that will disappear as something new comes up. Looking at the issue purely from corporate profitability perspective, a priority for the share holder, anything that calls for huge investment and risky track will need some deep thinking before a change is made.

The basic questions are -will sustainability disappear, is it a fad that will be run over by another mighty one and can organizations afford to wait? Growing evidence seems to indicate that it would not be possible. Increasing pressure from nations on carbon rating, biodegradability, recycling and environmental consciousness it appears that it would be difficult to whisk them away. The environmental lobbies are stronger now, and the consumer is willing to listen to them. The consumer may be compromising with environmentally insensitive brands and organizations, but deep in his mind there is a preference for more “safe product”. There could be a day when the labeling products with environmental safety index would be a statutory requirement and precautions might appear in the advertisements and labels as subscripts.

This is where corporation need to be alert and slowly begin to implement, if not already done, with more sincerity the “sustainability” thinking and instill it in all functions.

There may be a need for sustainability managers who along with quality manager can promote sustainability, environmental friendliness and green consciousness among the product developers, designers and strategists.

The change will have a substantial impact on the product manager function. The new product manager and brand manager must take into consideration the environmental friendliness and organic component in developing a eco friendly version of the product.

Apart from the ecological challenges the product managers also face a new and emerging challenge from the changing media habits of the consumer. The new consumer is not the earlier consumer any more, getting his information from news paper, magazines or television or movies. It is much more diverse mix now with MP3s, blogs, internet advertisement, U-tubes, mobile phones and social sites exchanging information. Now the brands need to be more ubiquitous in their media presence.

Being merely present is not enough. Here, distinction must be made between” presence” and “present”. Many brands tend to be present than creating a presence for themselves. Creating a presence in this new ecosystem calls for strong ecologically flavored brand values, a clear implementation of the values in the design process and packaging, and communicating them effectively to the consumer. Who can do this better than the product manager or brand manager?

Some might argue that the segment is pretty small to be alarmed about it at this stage. Such segments tend to be small but their impact is high enough to make neutral consumer walkway from the brand towards more eco sensitive, green brand at the retail shelf. Who knows, this could only be beginning of the end.

An experienced business executive, educator and consultant. Many years of experience in industry, as consultant and professor and dean at Indian Institute of Management. Visits Management Institutes and lectures on diverse management issues. Writes on management, education, political and social issues. Active participant of social responsibility and social marketing programs.

Branding Is Not Just For Products

Authentic personal branding: Most buying decisions are based on trust, confidence, and emotions people have related to a product, service, or person. Branding is more important than marketing and sales. Branding is influencing, by creating a brand identity that associates certain perceptions and feelings with that identity.

Everyone has a Personal Brand but most people are not aware of this and do not manage this strategically, consistently, and effectively. You should take control of your brand and the message it sends and affect how others perceive you. This will help you to actively grow and distinguish yourself as an exceptional professional.

Most traditional personal branding concepts focus mainly on personal marketing, image building, selling, packaging, outward appearances, promoting yourself, and becoming famous, which can turn into an ego trip and let you be perceived as egocentric and selfish. They define personal branding from a personal marketing (selling) point of view. Personal branding is more than just marketing and promoting yourself.

Personal branding is the new holy grail of marketing. Whereas superior skills, great resources and inside knowledge at one time gave you a competitive advantage, now they are merely prerequisites if you even hope to compete in today’s competitive marketplace.

To the chagrin of the purists out there, skills, resources and knowledge have become mere commodities. Because your personal brand is uniquely about you, it will never become a commodity. Personal branding is also critically important because statistics overwhelming show people buy personalities and ideas long before they buy products/services. The trend is unmistakable. Those with the best personal brands win.

Personal branding is also not an option. Everyone has one; your current personal brand is either positive, negative or neutral. The challenge for most professionals is that they lack the discipline necessary to define their personal brands. As a result, their peers select it for them. Unfortunately, the personal brand others select for you will not always be the personal brand you would have selected for yourself.

Love is an important element in this Personal Branding equation. It is about loving yourself (self-love), loving others, and loving what you do. You should love yourself in at least equal measure to others or things. This can be found in most religions: to love others as you love yourself. Without knowing who you are (self-knowledge), it’s very difficult to love yourself and others. You need to make a positive emotional connection with yourself and find yourself interesting first, otherwise others you will not make a positive emotional connection with you and will not find you interesting. With an authentic Personal Brand, your strongest characteristics, attributes, and values can separate you from the crowd. Without this, you look just like everyone else.

It’s a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and special and using those qualities to separate from yourself from your peers so that you can greatly expand your success. Personal branding is the strategy behind the world’s most successful people. It is the difference between an ordinary career or business and an exceptional one.

You learn how to apply the principles of personal branding to your own practice so that you stand out among the ever-increasing number of coaches and career management professionals. This enables you differentiate your practice and greatly expand your success.

Branding isn’t just for products, services, and companies any more. There is a new trend called personal branding. Personal branding is essential to career development and is an effective career tool because it helps define who you are, what do you stand for, and what makes you unique, special, and different. Personal branding is also essential to business development. People want to do business with people they know or with whom they feel some sort of connection. If you are a familiar and consistent presence, they will have the sense that they know you and are more receptive to doing business with you.

Traditional personal branding works in the same way as company branding; communicating values, personality, and ability to its audience to produce a positive emotional response. You can shape the market’s perception of your personal brand simply by defining your unique strengths, values, and personality, sharing it with others in an exciting, persuasive manner, and cultivating your brand continuously. It’s something that you can develop and manage, which is essential for future employability and success.

Everyone should take the responsibility to learn, improve, build up their skills and be a strong brand. It’s time to make an effort to discover your genius and authentic dream, imagining and developing yourself as a powerful, consistent, and memorable personal brand. It was branding guru Tom Peters who launched the personal branding movement with an essay published in Fast Company in 1997 under the title “The Brand Called You”.

Your image reflects on your company, friends, and family. You, however, need to be accountable to yourself first. If you’re dancing on the tables at the bar, and worried about getting caught, either you have something personally wrong, or you need to find a different job that accepts your lack of inhibition. If your Facebook photos might get you in trouble, take them down, or decide you want to work at a place where they don’t care about that sort of thing.

Your personal brand is a critical asset in today’s online, virtual, and individual age. Having a good professional reputation is the key to success. Personal branding is becoming increasingly essential to personal success. It’s therefore important to be your own brand in order to be successful in life.

The image of your brand is a perception held in someone else’s mind. Successful personal branding also entails managing this perception effectively. Your personal brand is the expectations, image, and perceptions it creates in the minds of others, when they see or hear your name.

If you ignore this law, you will create mixed signals, and confusion, and all your efforts at branding will go to waste. Because the message you’re actually sending might not be the one you designed, but the one that the public picks up on in your tone and in your attitude and in your actions.

The authentic personal branding concept is durable and less cosmetic than current methods. It places more emphasis on personal development, growth in life and empowerment, and focuses on the human side of branding. Traditional personal branding approaches can turn into an ego trip.

Brand Recognition Through The Use Of Promotional Products

Building a company’s brand recognition is getting tougher. The type of business is irrelevant. The competition in today’s market place is demanding.

The current economic environment makes it necessary to create brand awareness for you company to attract not only customers but also top employees and viable customers. One method to that is being used to attract new customers and clients alike is the use of promotional products that are useful.

There is a variety of promotional items to consider when making sure your company name is top of mind. These items can include magnets, key chains, pens and several other reasonably priced items that are useful to everyday use. All of these items provide effective measure to keep your company name top of mind with the people you are trying to attract. This is what matters the most when considering the options your business has to promote your company.

Promotional products offer visibility to your company and helps keep your brand name top of mind. Your business information on a personalized promotional product offers a type of exposure to clients, customers and future employees that no other advertising method can do. The information you include depends on your companies needs. You can add your name, company logo, phone number, address and companies URL. This helps provide exactly what is needed to easily get in touch with you when the need arises.

Building brand recognition is what keeps a company from collapsing. Without it your company is just another widget seller. People need to recognize who you are, the quality and service you offer and that your company offers something that is unique to you and your brand. Look around at successful companies that have stood the test of time and the economy at a highs and lows; what do they offer that others don’t? Brand recognition; you know who they are and what they offer based upon the company logo and slogan.

There is an abundance of promotional products to fit every company’s needs, budget and occasion. A terrific gift to give to employees along with their holiday bonus is apparel with the company logo. This builds pride in the company and also helps promote your business. I know I for one wear my company sweatshirt around a lot. It is a great sag way when out to start a conversation about the company I work for in a casual way.

It is also a great way to keep your company in people’s minds once they leave events such as trade shows. The abundance of promotional items given away during these events is astronomical. Your goal is to purchase a promotional product related to your company that is useful and won’t become garbage. For instance, with a company such as a web design or computer repair business a Frisbee is not the best option. A flash drive is more appropriate and useful. Save the outdoor promotional products for companies such as sporting good stores or a parks and recreation promotion.

The goal with any promotional product you choose is to pick a combination that will work for your clientele. If you are seeking out an elite business partnership chotckies are not going to be in the company’s best interest. However, nice pens and portfolios are options that are good for those occasions. Put your company name out there and get your logo and motto recognized. This is the key to establishing, growing and maintaining your business and promotional products are once piece of this important puzzle.

Display Your Brand Everywhere With Promotional Products

Businesses looking for a unique way to market their brands should consider investing in promotional products. Promotional products are cost effective because they become walking adverts which are often passed from one customer to another. Because of this, they become an advertising tool with infinite possibilities for future return.

For example, if a company chooses to give away pens printed with its name and contact information with every order, the pen travels to a variety of locations and will be used, or offered to others for use, throughout the day. From the post office to the bank or school, even if it is left behind by the original recipient, the pen continues to function as a promotional product, reminding all who see it of the valuable services offered by this business.

Promotional products give the best return on investment (ROI) when they are highly visible, travel easily, and provide a needed service. Promotional umbrellas fit all three of these categories. Because they can be used for both sun and rain, people carry them everywhere, including the office, public transport, shopping trips, and vacations. Whenever promotional umbrellas are used, the customers remember the business which offered it, and this generates good will toward the company. Along the way, the company’s logo is prominently displayed to potential new customers. The dollars spent on this walking advert is an excellent investment that can attract customers for many years.

Promotional products are versatile because they can be used in several different ways. Businesses may give them to important clients or customers as a form of appreciation. Promotional items may be used as awards to employees for doing great work or achieving special goals. This type of incentive has been proven to increase company morale and loyalty. Businesses find promotional items especially useful at trade shows to provide a visible reminder of the services that are offered by their companies.

Whether the promotional products are imprinted with a company name, a logo, some form of contact information, or another important message, fifty-five percent of the people who receive them keep them for over a year. Research shows that fifty-two percent of the people who receive promotional products actually return to do business with that company again. Because promotional products result in such good publicity, highly successful companies, both large and small, include them in their annual budgets and are pleased with the results of these walking adverts.

To find a distributor of promotional products in the UK visit the BPMA sourcing site. All British promotional merchandise Association members must supply trade references and a suitable financial history before they can join. During their membership, they must adhere to a strict code of conduct ensuring that their practices are legal, decent and honest.) Look out for their logo displayed on their website or stationary. If you are still unsure you can log onto the British promotional merchandise association website.