Consumer brands and wealth building go together – even Warren Buffett, thinks so! Buffett, a savvy investor with a fortune of $50 billion, says companies with strong brands are the kind of companies he likes to buy. For decades, he’s been espousing the virtues of companies with strong consumer brands and investing in such companies has helped make the octogenarian one of the world’s richest men.
Buffett recently had his shareholder meeting in Omaha, NE and talked about the five companies that make up 75% of his portfolio: Proctor & Gamble, American Express, IBM, Wells Fargo, and Coca Cola. The companies all have strong brands and P & G is the “king” in brand making you could say because they have created many brands from food brands to cleaning supplies and everything in between.
Having a brand can set a business apart, not only with pricing, packaging, and promotion, but by creating an identity in the mind of the consumer. It’s like putting a product on a shelf in the consumer’s mind. Whether it’s at the top, middle or bottom depends on how it’s positioned.
Buffett’s point is that having a brand can set any business apart from another. Even commodities that you think couldn’t be differentiated, like perhaps water, is differentiated through the use of branding.
Remember Grey Poupon mustard? Grey Poupon famously branded themselves as a luxury mustard served on a silver platter by a person in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. Everything from paper towels to cat food to popcorn can be branded high-end and separated from “ordinary”. This allows a company to charge more and profit more than a “basic” or “generic” product.
Buffett also talks about liking companies that “create a wide moat”. That means a company cannot be copied easily. They have something that sets them apart – which is exactly what brands do – and that makes them more valuable.
Have you worked on creating a luxury brand™ for your company? Are you conscious of what sets it apart? Are you creating a wide moat? These are the things you must do to create uniqueness and help consumers (and maybe even billionaire investors) realize your full value.