The other week I had the pleasure to speak in front of an audience of brand owners. The topic was how to price your product to sell. The underlying message was that while many brands start to determine their pricing from a bottoms up, cost of goods sold, model they should be looking at their competitive matrix and branding. Most brand owners launch businesses with the desire to create a product that satisfies many value propositions. Take sustainability for example. There are many ways to communicate that a brand is environmentally friendly, but does it need to be organic, fair trade, upcycled, low carbon footprint, made in USA and give back to green NGO or charity to achieve this? In fact, if it did, the pricing would probably be through the roof. Instead of trying to be everything you want this brand to stand for think about the top three things you want to adhere to. These three brand tenants will permeate throughout your website, social media, how you write about your brand and ultimately how to communicate to wholesale buyers and retail consumers. Focus on creating a branded platform that will properly communicate your product, not on creating the best possible product that satisfies all the things you want it to stand for.
I like to ask my clients if they would actually buy products from their own site or follow themselves on Instagram. This is a clear litmus test if you are getting the messaging across. Once you have clear communication of your brand then look to see if your product can back it up. Think brand and aesthetics first, then product development to satisfy the brand needs. This might seem a little counter intuitive to all the makers out there who have a love of product development and design; the ones who think you can build a collection of products then figure out the brand. Ideally you would want to work on both at the same time: developing products and creating the brand. Though I must say that when I work with clients who start with products then work on branding in some cases their inspiration and desire to create are not in alignment with the brand they think they are developing. If you want a hobby then design aimlessly. If you want a business and to design aimlessly then get yourself a financier and create a brand that is based on YOU and know that it may take some time for the market to catch on. Eventually you may find the market fit, but this approach is from the perspective of an artist.
Lastly, the price that you will charge for your product is based on how you sell it and what expectations you set for your customers. If you are selling quality and artisanal then you have to deliver. If you are selling the feeling of travel and wanderlust then you must deliver on that- think packaging, copywriting. Both of those selling propositions can be sold at the same price, but the artisanal products that are delivered must be artisanal, and the wanderlust products can be relatively inexpensive to produce. I always suggest selling a feeling or result. Yes, if your products do have added quality features, great, but that won’t be WHY they buy. Customers buy because of your brand, they become repeat customers when you product delivers on the brand.
Think Brand first!