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What does a name mean?

Tarmac’s Dr Bill Price on the value of a good brand name

Whilst the influence of ‘designer brands’ dominates the high street , does a similar process operate in the building materials sector?

When looking at products to stock in store, a product with strong brand recognition has an inbuilt advantage. When customers immediately make a positive link between the brand name and the characteristics or performance of the product, a good part of the ‘sale’ has already occurred.

Some brands have even gone on to become a byword for the product itself, even though there may be more than one manufacturer. The classic example would be ‘Hoover’ which has now become synonymous with the vacuum cleaner itself. It could be argued, of course, that this can become a problem as the link between the specific brand and the product is then forgotten, but in general terms brand recognition is a positive advantage for both manufacturers and retailers

The Blue Circle has been associated with cement since the 1920’s (although it did make a cameo appearance on beer glasses during the launch of an extra cold version of a well known stout) and still retains that subliminal power to cause the word ‘cement’ to pop into the mind. Despite the changing structure of the cement industry, both in UK and worldwide, the brand and its connotations have endured for nearly a century.

In order to capitalise on brand recognition however, manufacturers need to ensure that the product itself continues to mirror the strengths that the brand represents and not just to trade on past glories. There are few things as sad as seeing a well-loved brand applied to products that are a pale imitation of the ‘real thing’. One example might be the way that big brewing corporations use the names of small local breweries, long since taken over and closed, for products made in vast industrial quantities.

For a merchant; stocking brands that customers immediately recognise as standing for quality, value, or superior performance can also act as a hook to increase footfall and improve sales of other products.  Worth some more thought ?

About Guest Blogger - Bill Price

Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager at Tarmac’s Cement business

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