Do you really know what your company sells?

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

Do you really know what your company sells? This seems like a no-brainer, but many get it wrong. Many business owners get it wrong. Great branding gets to the core of this question. To many, the physical products and services they deliver are what they sell. It’s the widget. It’s the software. It’s the service. These may be the physical items or actions that you sell, but it’s not really what your company should be about.

If you understand your true brand, you’ll know concisely what you’re selling. Branding goes way beyond the physical and hits the emotional. It’s the fulfillment of a dream, the relief of a worry, or bringing sheer joy to an otherwise dull day. Here are some examples of what some companies are selling:

Progressive Insurance – Their CEO has said they don’t sell insurance. They sell “speed”. It is not unusual for a Progressive representative to be at a scene of a claim within 10 minutes, view the situation, and often, writes a check on the spot. They have worked hard at crafting their actions to support their brand of speed.

Disney – “What does Disney make?” says a trainer. “We make people happy.”, says a new “cast member”. That’s right. Disney doesn’t sell animation, stuffed toys, or musicals on DVD. Their core product is to make people happy. This is the guiding brand promise in everything they do. This is their product that was set by Walt Disney himself and has continued to this day.

Starbucks – Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee. Surprise. They sell “daily inspiration”. It is to this end that Starbucks makes critical business decisions on what goes on, and into, each store. The atmosphere needs to inspire you, even for those few minutes you’re there getting your Grande Pike Place. If the breakfast sandwich doesn’t evoke a bit of inspiration beyond being just another “good” sandwich, then they don’t carry it. Starbucks is in the business of selling inspiration on each visit.

From these examples you see that the real products these companies sell are more appealing and more captivating than just the physical lumps that are on the shelves. This is what separates them from their competitors who may think they only sell insurance coverage, DVDs, and regular coffee. If you get your branding right, you’ll discover the real product you sell and what customers are willing to pay premium for because you deliver more than just the commodity of the product or service. By delivering dream fulfillment and possibilities, your brand will become irreplaceable.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.


  1. Do you have the courage to STAY a premium brand? « Bebranded's Blog - September 7, 2009

    […] place. This is beyond making money. It relates back to what you stand for, not what you sell. (see: Do you really know what your company sells) By reminding customers of your core purpose, you reinforce why doing business with your company is […]

  2. Components of a marketing strategy- Rhoda Israelov of Say It For You - June 28, 2014

    […] 1. What does the competitive environment look like? – Take a hard look at both, your competitors and your customers. You need to understand what’s going on now. Look at this like a benchmark. In the military, it’s being situationally aware. This also means know what’s going on in categories that is related to your industry. Do you know what your competitors brands stand for? Do you know what customers really want? (and it’s not the actual thing you’re selling. see: Do you really know what your company sells?) […]

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