There are many, many reasons that we choose to buy something, and quite a few of them don’t have anything to do with what a company says about its products. Brands make it easy for us to understand the world and decide how to spend our money, but our mental images are always incomplete, and they can be changed easily.
In order to discuss the effectiveness of branding efforts, we’ll define “positive attention” as attention that attracts customers that align with an entrepreneur’s definition of success. We’ll define “negative attention” as attention that repels customers or brings in the wrong type of customers. This is an important distinction because not all customers are equally effective when it comes to reaching a particular set of goals.
Mike opens a hair salon and wants to serve those who don’t mind spending $200 for a cut and color. In order to get customers through the door, he offers a 50% off coupon, good for the first month. His salon may be filled for the first month, but how many of his initial customers will return when the price doubles? If he attracted customers that won’t pay the regular price, he’s generated negative attention and done little to build the long-term customer base that he wanted.
In the same way, if Mike sets the cut and color price at $200 but buy ads in the local penny-saver newspaper, he’s probably reaching a clientele that can’t or won’t spend $200 on a single salon visit. He may be attracting attention, but he hasn’t been building a set of positive impressions in the minds of potential customers. Each piece of the brand puzzle must be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness: Is it generating the right kind of attention? Is it building the customer base you want?