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Be a Brand, Not a Commodity

Philip Kotler is the current S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago. It’s an impressive title from an equally impressive institution. Clearly, Professor Kotler knows his stuff.

“The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner.”

Professor Kotler said that. It’s actually a famous quote, and it’s famous for a reason. It’s a wonderfully succinct observation about a very complex issue. Not to ride on the great man’s coattails or anything, but at Irish Titan we wholeheartedly agree with the Professor’s observation.

In fact, we reference it quite often when we’re attempting to explain the importance of a clear and consistent Brand Voice to current or potential clients.

Brand Voice is what separates your business from the pack. It’s your discernible point of difference. It’s what keeps you from being a commodity.

If you don’t have a Brand Voice - if you don’t have a point of difference – then, as Professor Kotler noted, it’s just about price.

Unless you can effectively communicate why you’re different from your competitors, consumers will probably just go with the cheapest available option.

So, be different. Be a brand, not a commodity, and let your Brand Voice showcase how and why you’re a better choice.

A clear and consistent Brand Voice will allow consumers to get to know who you are and what you represent. It will help generate a degree of trust and, regardless of price, consumers are far more likely to do business with you if they trust you.

An all too common trap when developing a Brand Voice is attempting to sound like your customers. It’s a mistake.

In an increasingly savvy and sophisticated marketplace, coming across as inauthentic is a giant no-no. (Not a Professor Kotler quote.) People these days are far more aware of when they’re being “sold” something. The “fake it ‘til you make it” approach simply doesn’t work here. (Also not a Professor Kotler quote.)

You don’t need to speak like your customers, you need to speak to them, and in a voice that represents your company’s vision and values.

Remember, you are not a commodity. You are a brand; an interesting, important brand with a unique point of difference.

Your Brand Voice should reflect that.

Need help developing or refining your business's Brand Voice?

We’d love to chat.

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