Biketown Portland

Brands that Work

Brands that Work

Brands occupy two major categories of market space: products of need vs want. Many of the brands of need are not as hip as the Airbnb, Uber, or Lyft brands we participate in the new market economy. And yet, brands of need are necessary in our everyday market space: brick and mortar banks, home insurance agencies, internet companies, trash companies, life insurance brokers, mortgage companies, auto mechanic shops, office cleaning companies, and the list goes on.

Companies of need fill a particular role within our society and workflow. Markets may go up, markets may go down, but companies of need will always have a foothold in the market as long as the market demands it.

In addition, there are brands of want. Brands of want are companies that devote themselves to the not necessary, but necessarily important sphere of the market. These are companies that fulfill actual and virtual products to make the person, business, and world a better place: shoes, clothing, music, make up, personal tech, software, food, drinks, workouts, media, TV, film, and digital apps. These are brands we purchase and participate with on a regular basis. We choose to engage with them because of the value and meaning they bring to our lives.

Often, as consumers, we can overcompensate with brand in the want category because of the deeper connect they make with our daily routine.

Alternatively, there are new market brands spanning this divide between products of need and want. One example of this is Uber, which fills the traditional need consumer role of transportation. Because of the digital-platform, disrupting nature of the way Uber fills the market, it’s also capturing the want of the consumer market. This has lead to the successful nature of Uber’s business. As a want-brand business revolutionizes a need industry Uber’s yearly profits continue to make it one of the most profitable companies in tech landscape.

My hunch is that need market have traditionally generated the greatest profits, while want markets create the tightest consumer to brand relationships. In between these two are a newer generation of companies that space both sectors and clean up on profits that lead to exponential growth followed by a slew of investors looking for the next Apple.

If you are like me, entrepreneurial – opportunist, then you spend a lot of time thinking through and planning out your next steps regarding life, career, and projects to focus your time and energy on. Often I will walk into a retail shop or restaurant and saying to my wife, “I could do much better at this and here’s what I would do…” I spend my free time working on side projects, ideas to take to market.

Do you spend your day time dreaming about companies you would like to own or be a part of? Do you look for inspiration in brands you would like to one day emulate? Do you crave to run your own branded company, produce your own product, and make your own path?

It is important to think through what time of company you are planning to launch. Are you in the need or want business. Where do you see your company’s market? Is there a way for you span the divide between products of need and want. Maybe you are starting a landscape company or pool cleaning service? Maybe you have an idea of a new payment system based on digital technology? Perhaps you have a product line or clothing company you are bringing to market.

No matter what you are doing, it’s important to understand what part of the market you are in. The way that you will be the most successful is when you pull from the deeper connections consumers make with want brands and convert that to an already existing, highly profitable need category.

If you have any more questions on this, let me know: abrahambates[at]

Otherwise, good luck on your next venture!

AB 8/31/18


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