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Whether you are selling a product or a service, branding is a vital component in creating a successful company. It is essentially the personality of your company; one that your intended market can relate to.

The power of branding becomes especially apparent when we start comparing products against their price points. Is German engineering truly the best in the world, and is the price tag attached to it truly justified? Or have they simply created a strong rapport that warrants them the right to charge exorbitant prices? Although the answer to that is a difficult one, what we can rightly say is that they have created a strong and trusted relationship with their stakeholders – and that, in essence, is what branding is all about.

Proton recently launched their Suprima S this year to positive sales volume. However, the days of Proton leading the market share are long gone, as they have had to deal with quite a few critical reviews.

The downward spiral of the Proton story is one that begins a long time ago. Their winning strategy had always been the fact that they sold their vehicles at highly competitive prices; in other words, for dirt-cheap. Over time, consumers were quick to complain about Proton’s poorly specified cars and their continued faultiness – contributing to a very negative overall image – even despite the fact that the prices they offered were highly attractive. No matter how cheap your product is, you should never compromise the perception the public has of your brand.

To fight its stigma, Proton has finally delivered with their all-new Suprima S that comes equipped with great specs and a pleasing look. It all comes with a cost though, and in this case, it was Proton’s price point. The price of the Suprima S comes in direct contention with another strong and consistent brand name: The Toyota Vios.

On paper, the Suprima S reigns supreme. Reviewers have stacked the two models up against each other and there are 5 notable aspects of the underrated Proton model that trumps Toyota’s Vios, through and through. So how was the Vios able to receive 8,000 orders even before its launch date while the Suprima S continues to struggle?

It all boils down to one word: Reputation.

This situation goes to show that the quality and functionality of your product can only do so much – after that, it simply depends on the impression your brand has made on the market and the impact it has made on us.

Branding has proven vital, many times over, when it comes to purchasing a product. Studies have shown that 80% of buying decisions are based on emotion; and only 20% is based on logic.

This clearly illustrates our intuitive nature as consumers and how it will take more than sheer ingenuity to win our hearts – as logically, we know the Suprima S trumps the Vios, but our emotional detachment to the brand itself will undoubtedly affect our choice.

Which is a shame, because the Suprima S is one hell of a car.

Proton has done well with delivering a quality product but they still have a long way to go to re-establish their brand name to its previous grandeur. For the sake of our national car, we hope they find a story that can resonate within the hearts of the Malaysian people so as to be able to revise their branding strategy.

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