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Being the Whole Solution
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Brands are specific, known for certain products and services that customers understand they can receive from the company. It’s the strategy that makes sense so there is a clear understanding of what the brand delivers and who it is. Customers are able to form a perception of the brand and the company is able to deliver on its promises. All is good — branding 101.

But then there is a point where a brand has the capability and structure to branch out. To be more than it is noticed for, and to provide a myriad of solutions for the customer. This new strategy seems to be winning out more and more for brands because it provides a benefit for the customer. A brand that is known for a select set of products and services can ultimately deliver above and beyond this when it digs deeper into who it is. And it’s less about offering additional products and more about offering solutions and ideas and content so the brand becomes an expert for the customer. Pottery Barn is known for a distinct set of products — mostly home décor, including kitchen essentials. But the brand knows that inside it’s more than products and wants to prove to the customer its benefit.

Instead of always focusing on the latest couch or the newest cookware, Pottery Barn is putting forth ideas and seminars to support its products. For instance, how to throw a great party. What? A home decor brand showing customers how to throw a party? That’s right, and luckily Pottery Barn has not only the products to support this leap but the experts and connections to make it feel real for the customer. With weekend seminars, customized content, and the overall organization of its products, the brand is showing customers value through its core brand essence. How are customers finding out about all this? Through email and at events. That’s right; it’s not something easily found on the website, but instead an “exclusive” (term used lightly) invitation to take part and learn how to be that super party host.

The importance of this is for brands to understand their capability and relevance. There are some topics and situations where brands can provide authority and become the solution, but they must be relevant and they must provide value. It’s a great strategy to extend who the brand is today, but this is not something that can be overused or under-thought. In order for customers to respond, brands need to find their niche, provide something no one else can, and, of course, make it believable. After all, who wouldn’t want to go to a Pottery Barn-themed party?

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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