Last week, I was nearing the end of a client brand workshop. We were wrapping up and I asked if there were any final questions. An attendee raised their hand and asked 'Do we really need a brand?'
A strange question to ask at the end of a full day brand workshop. Not least, because if the answer was no, we wouldn't have spent a day developing it together. But as was commented, I would say that Brand is what we do. And this blog is full of reasons why businesses need to build their brands. As well as tips on how to achieve this.
But are there times when you DON'T need a brand? There are commodity products that don't have brands and the businesses who produce them can survive and even thrive. And I can think of two other occasions when a business may not need a brand.
You don't need a brand if:
1. You know all of your customers personally (and they know you) and you have no desire to gain any new or different customers. You don't need a brand if that is the case. That is, until, those customers stop needing what you do or find someone else who does the same thing. Then you may wish you'd built a brand that helped your customers understand why you are (or were) best placed to serve them.
2. You have a one of a kind product - something that only you can deliver.
Well, you don't need a brand straight away at least. While you're the only one doing it, you might be able to attract customers based on the product alone. However unique selling points don't last forever and it's only a matter of time before someone replicates your secret formula or invents something better (or a substitute). If you build a brand around your unique product, people will only ever associate the product with you. And even if others come along, they won't be able to replicate your brand even if the product is similar on the surface.
So, if your business meets the above criteria, you may not need a brand. Although the circumstances in the above scenarios are short-lived and based on nothing changing. And as we know, that is highly unlikely.
So, to future-proof your business and help you attract the right customers, it's useful to build a brand around what you do. And that's why, yes, you do need a brand.