There is a common problem among many business software companies today, both startups and established: when brand experience and product experience do not align.
This happens when marketers try to position a product as something it is not, resulting in the brand promise being compromised.
Crafting a brand is important because the way your potential clients see your brand influences their buying choices. And companies that win are the ones that tune their brand experience in every aspect of their business – starting with their product.
Yet, it happens time and again: The brand does not achieve market expectations, so a lot of would-be customers are lost.
Achieving product market fit from the start
Of course, this should be one of your first goals. If your product does not appeal to enough people who are willing to put down money for it, you lose out.
Now here’s the key: A product can have an excellent product-market fit, but the moment you bring brand fit and product market fit together you get leverage.
The question asked most often is, “How and where do I start to bring brand-fit and product market fit together?
And this is what you should know: To get to your brand fit, start by asking yourself (and eventually your team) a very simple question:
In other words, what is the big problem you are aiming to solve? Why do people need your product? What is your value proposition?
When you come up with the answer, never forget it. Make this the defining factor for your value proposition, your product strategy and the way your organization sells and delivers the product/service.
Product-Market Fit: The Basics
Product-Market fit simply means that you have been able to come up with a good product which satisfies your market. That market is big enough, and your product fulfills its need.
But when the holy grail of product market fit really happens is when you can hardly keep up with demand. You are sold out within seconds of announcing a new product.
Naturally, this is every startup or entrepreneurs dream. The product is meeting customers’ needs, exceeding their expectations, and your competition is no match for how you are filling the market needs. To achieve this, however, you have to go beyond just Product-Market fit. It’s the combination of Product Market fit and Product Brand fit where the magic happens. The key question is: Where do you start?
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Build the narrative before the product
In a podcast interview, Tim Ferris spoke at length with entrepreneur Scott Belsky. Scott is an author, investor, Chief Product Officer of Adobe, and venture partner with venture capital firm Benchmark.
Scott relates his lessons learned with his many startups, and a question that came to mind was, What about product brand fit? What about making sure that you have something that’s piercing?
“I think the greatest founders out there recognize that while the science of business is scaling everything that you can and automating and whatever,” said Scott, “the art of business is the things that don’t scale.”
Sometimes it helps to get 100% clear what the value proposition should be. It is okay to jump a few pages ahead: Plan what your landing page should communicate, and how a product will strengthen your brand.
You can do this before you even get the team together to start building the product.
Alignment will follow automatically
This is what happens most often in workshops. Once you define the reason for your business’ existence or your product, the rest will follow.
Once you understand where you are going and why, you will get there. And others will want to come along on your journey. It’s just that simple.
Recently, during one of the workshops I did, a product owner acknowledged in the evaluation that he’d never had realized with so much clarity what the company was all about. He had never taken the time to define this very essential foundation.
And with this knowledge came more insight. He realized a large portion of his product backlog should be skipped as a consequence, providing him new ways and resources to make the Product Market and Brand fit even better, and with that, his customers happier, and his business more successful.
Companies that win are always the ones who tune their brand experience in every aspect of their business.
If something is not working, they go back to brand promise and brand fit. If the product is not selling, they go back to that foundation. It all starts with the product.
Define your value proposition
Now you see that your value proposition is the essence of your product strategy.
Once you have been able to define this, you can then accurately outline a plan for how your product will optimally meet your ideal customer’s needs.
When there is competition at stake, you know where you stand, and how to have an edge over them. You know that what you are offering your customer is way better than the alternatives.
A product can have an excellent product market fit – but the moment you bring brand fit and product market fit together you get leverage.
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