When consumers think of your brand, what kind of experience, quality, and value do they associate with your name? When your store or website is the only point of sale, you have a lot of control over your customers’ experiences. But when you work with retailers, that’s not always the case.
Every retailer you work with directly impacts your brand equity–for better or for worse.
In this episode of PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected, PriceSpider’s host, Anthony Capozzolli sits down with Bill Johannesen, founder of Vision Werks and one of the chief architects of Bose’s well-known Unilateral Minimum Resale Price Policy to talk about brand equity.
Here are some of the tips they have for brands.
Create a specialty product
While your brand equity encompasses far more than your product, your product is where it all starts. Having a specialty product that serves your target audience either in unique ways or better than anyone else gives you more power in your relationships with retailers. They want to sell your products because they know their customers want them–and if they don’t carry your products, they’re going to lose sales to their competitors.
If retailers feel like you’re getting more out of the relationship than they are, they’re not going to be as cooperative when you start trying to fine-tune how they sell your products.
Choose the right retail partners
Since every retailer impacts your brand equity, one of the most important things you can do to build and preserve your brand equity is to make sure you only do business with retailers who support your brand. That means both being selective about who you allow to carry your products and requiring your partners to sign a reseller agreement that formally defines how they need to support your brand.
Unauthorized sellers don’t care about your brand or your goals. They only care about short-term sales. And your pricing policy isn’t going to change their behavior.
If brand equity is important to you, you need to choose retail partners whose go-to-market plan aligns with your own, and who create the same kinds of customer experiences you want people to associate with your brand. Can you trust them to use your assets and messaging when they advertise and display your products? When a seller provides a bad experience putting your products in people’s hands, or creates a different perception of your brand, that hurts your brand equity.
Control the message
If you want consumers to have a specific perception about your brand and associate you with particular qualities, you need to control how your brand and your products are presented by retailers. You need tools (like Brand Monitor) to see how well retailers are following your brand guidelines, so that consumers have the same experience with and perception of your brand everywhere it appears.
Preserve your brand equity
Odds are, right now you have some sellers who are generating sales but hurting your brand. A lot of manufacturers are hesitant to get rid of these harmful sellers out of fear that they’ll lose sales. But Anthony and Bill argue that even when there are personal relationships involved, brands need to take the plunge and cut ties with these sellers. Not only are they holding back your brand equity, but they’re often actually decreasing your overall sales as a result.
Bill and Anthony have often seen brands quickly regain (and even increase) sales when they cut ties with bad sellers. This typically happens because those sellers were eroding trust in your brand and your credibility as an organization. You were associating your brand with low-quality sellers. When you cut ties with those sellers, you may find that your best retail partners are eager to pick up the slack.
Building and protecting your brand equity isn’t something you should plan to do down the road, or when you reach a particular size. Anthony hears brands say they’re waiting until they grow, and to that, he says: “It’s probably easier to tame the cub than the tiger anyway.”
Learn more on our podcast
Anthony Capozzoli lends his ecommerce expertise in our podcast, PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected. This episode features the first of many interviews with Bill Johannessen from Vision Werks. Check it out!