Fake It ’til You Make It?

It’s a longstanding debate … does brand lead value or does value lead the brand? For many start-ups or new product launches, marketing becomes the first priority of the day. The ol’ “build it and they will come” mindset takes over.

But for many companies, somehow the “it” came to mean a great pitch instead of a great product or service that provides real value to the customer. In today’s “idea explosion” economy, it’s a mad dash to get the big idea to market before someone else steals your thunder.

Not all cases call for a full stop to brand development—when the product value simply needs a bit of refinement or tweaking, marketing efforts can proceed successfully in tandem with product development.

But entrepreneurs and business leaders do themselves and their business goals a disservice when they allow marketing messages to run wild without an honest gut check about the state of their offering.

Here’s one easy check: talk to your existing and beta customers. If their expectations for or better yet their experience with your product is less than stellar, it’s probably time to slow down the marketing train while you reassess the value you can truly deliver.

Don’t fret, there are ways to keep your brand in the marketplace conversation while you hone your offering. Thought leadership articles and strategic use of social media channels can keep your ideas and expertise top of mind with key influencers and potential buyers without overpromising on your product.

Building empathy and trust with your prospects first will make it much easier to create enthusiastic buyers. And there’s nothing fake about that.