Do you have Brand Power?


“Power” refers to the preference any particular customer accords that brand. A brand has more or less power to the extent that a customer prefers it to all available substitutes.

Brand power elicits customer behaviors that are often (misleadingly) grouped under the “customer loyalty.”  That football fan standing shirtless in the Minnesota wind, with his frostbitten chest painted purple and gold? That’s brand power at work. Many Harley riders have tattooed their favorite motorcycle brand on their arms. Have any of your customers done that yet? Do you doubt for a minute that someone out there has tattooed the Apple logo on her body? Brand power.

To maximize brand power for a particular customer, you would design your offering exactly, perfectly for them. If you did that well, your brand would have maximum power – for them.

Brand power has nothing to do with how many customers prefer it – only with how much each customer prefers it. In fact, it may be that a powerful brand still attracts too few customers and dies. Saturn went belly up in 2010; Saab in 2011. Some people really loved those brands – but there just weren’t enough of them.


If brand “power” is quality, brand “reach” is quantity. The greater a brand’s reach, the greater the number of people who prefer it.

Building on the above example, you first created an offering that was perfect for exactly one person. But to be commercially successful, you know you need more customers, so you begin designing your offering to give it broader appeal. With each change, the offering becomes less perfect for your original customer, creating an inherent tension between power and reach. Generally, the broader the reach, the fewer the number of brand fanatics — that is, the lower the power.

Most brands that try to appeal to everybody don’t appeal to anybody very strongly. Such brands are sometimes said to be diluted.  Have you given much thought to your brand beyond the logo you’ve chosen?  Don’t feel like you’re the only one.  In fact, so many people I speak and consult with don’t know the difference between brand and logo, or that there is a difference.  What’s your take?