Julian: Brand values

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When better is possible then good is not enough. Julian Rowlandson, sales director, Expand International, makes his case against buying cheap and asks: How much do you value your brand?

I was welcomed back after the Christmas break by an email that proclaimed: “Buy this banner stand for £1”. Of course, not all was quite what it seemed; you had to buy a second stand at full price to benefit from the offer, however the opportunity got me thinking about the question of value and cost.

In a buyers’ market there are always deals to be done but is cheap always cheerful? Are you really getting a good deal or taking a risk?

Warren Buffett, an American entrepreneur once said that price is what you pay and value is what you get.

Leave aside the questions as to what aggressive discounting does to a market and more importantly to a business, but what of the knock on impact of buying cheap? In the case of banner stands and display stands these will often be used by businesses to communicate important facts about their company, to bring brand awareness. I am constantly surprised by organisations that gamble with one of their most valuable assets – their brand – by choosing to buy low cost displays, which may not display their graphics to the best possible advantage and therefore do not do justice to the brand. And to quote Benjamin Franklin: “If better is possible good is not enough”.  Surely when trying to communicate the benefits of working with our organisations we want to do the best that is possible not do “just enough”.

Buying cheap is often a false economy. There are only so many places savings can be made.  In display products that is either in the quality of the graphic or in the durability of the stand.  Either way people who choose to pay clearly below the market value for something should take note of what John Ruskin said: “The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better”.

Sensible competition is good for the market, good for buyers but sometimes competition can go too far and then it is good for neither.