A friend shared one recent experience which highlights how many businesspeople think branding means only making our products visible.
He has recently published one book. He is in the process of marketing that book. He contacted some bookshop chains, but being self-published book, none of them is willing to keep his book on their shelves. Also, he being an unknown name was another reason for the refusal.
Soon after being rejected by one leading bookstore chain, he got a call from somebody who claimed that he had ‘good contacts’ with almost all bookshop chains and he can ‘place’ the book on their ‘bestselling’ and ‘xyz store recommends’ shelves, as he had some ‘setting’ with the purchase teams of the bookshop chains. ‘Sir, jo dikhta hai, wohi bikta hai… Maine bahut saare authors ki branding ki hai aur unhe bestseller bana diya hai… Aapko bhi bana denge…’
My friend, being a very sensitive guy, was shocked to know this. (And, if that ‘setting’ expert was telling the truth, then the owners of bookshop chains have a real reason to worry about.) He had already thought that literature was an ‘innocent’ profession, untouched by all the dirty shades of other businesses. Along with this belief, his idea about branding also shook up. He always believed that his book will sell only if it is good and liked by the readers. He always says ‘My book can’t be sold, it has to be bought.’ (Very profound product wisdom this is. Think over…) But here was some branding Guru, claiming that he will construct the brand of this author, by simply placing his book on the shelves of the bookstores, through some off hand mechanisms.
I realized many of us make this mistake while thinking of developing our brands. We think that if our product or its name is visible more and more, it will automatically sell more. What if the product itself is a failure? What if the price is wrong? What if it is inferior to the competition? What if the communication is tardy or the packaging poor?
The product will fail, if the hype created by such outwardly ‘branding’ efforts doesn’t live up to the expectations of the customer.
If only visibility makes a brand, then the zealous act of hanging rows of banners everywhere and making a ‘wannabe’ politician annoyingly visible, must make him a big shot. But just as hollow ‘papdi’ does not become politician, a brand does not get built by some deceptive ‘setting’ of some crooks.