Does Brand Matter?
Of course, brand matters—but whose brand, and to whom?
Is the brand that matters the nameplate at the bottom of the display frame or the company name at the top of the installation invoice?
Come to think of it, what is brand? How do you define it? What is it supposed to evoke? Something as abstract as an impression or an aspiration? Or something as nuts and bolts as timely shipping and a competent support center?
Whose brand preference is the most important factor? Is it the customer/end-user who lives with the purchase? Or is it the C-tailer, which might choose brands based on any number of highly passionate or completely dispassionate reasons? Perhaps most importantly, how much do these questions matter to the final mix of healthy business and customer satisfaction?
To find out, Custom Retailer interviewed eight C-tailers, asking them the simple question: "Does brand matter?" Naturally, their answers came in all over the map and were anything but simple. Interestingly, most C-tailers interviewed were of the mind that they lived and died by the reputation of their own company brand, not by those of their vendors. Vendor branding may get center stage on the retail sales floor, but for most C-tailers, the vendor brands play a symbiotic but ultimately supporting role.
Now on with the debate: Does brand matter?
Founder and President
Winter Park, Fla.
Brand is absolutely important, but Absolute Sound is the brand. That's what the customer is buying. We are the brand. There's no question: If they buy Absolute Sound, they are going to get the right product. It's up to us to make the right product selection, but Absolute Sound is what we are branding, and it's what we are selling the customer.
In this millennium, that's more critical than anything. If you relegate yourself just down to the products, you're just a box-mover. More and more, you are the customers' personal purchasing agent in this new millennia of high service.