What do you mean by a ‘brand’?
It’s no secret that most fine chess sets are made by artisans in India. They are nicely weighted, beautifully designed and look/feel great. Some manufacturers are better than others, and quality is an ever present issue to grapple with on an ongoing basis. But good quality can be had – and there are a number of stores, physical and online, that market excellent quality chess sets for good prices that yield a little profit for the operator. How can we make ours distinct? How can we make our version the next Jaques, that will someday be heard on a future incarnation of Antiques Roadshow, where the owner will show that warm glow of satisfaction when the expert tells them that she has a genuine ‘Baron’ as sold by the early 2000 chess retailer ChessBaron? Hmmm, yes, our sights are indeed set high.
Will the brand be genuine?
We don’t want to just call it a Baron, knowing that the same is purchasable elsewhere. We want a real brand. I want to pass my business to my son, and he to his son or daughter, so we want a business that will stand the test of time and have a product that will span that amount of time. Therefore we need to build differences in our product even whilst knowing thatthe same is available elsewhere. It’s done with computers – there really isn’t that much difference between Gateway and Dell, but both justifiably claim adherants to their brand, even fans (no pun intended). Our chess designs need to stand out. How? Easy…!
How likely are customers for a cranial and middle class game like chess to buy chess from a company like ChessShop.com, or CheapChess.com? Some, but not our kind of customers. Our national domains are ChessBaron (BaronDesEchecs in France), and convey, we hope, value, quality and such things. There are many domains that are places for people to buy chess quick and cheefully – which we wish well. But how does BMW react if someone says ‘I would like to buy a cheap car please…’? Well, they’ve obviously come to the wrong place. It’s the same with ChessBaron. Whether in the UK, USA, France, Canada, etc., if customers want to buy good value fine chess sets (and other chess products), they’ve come to the right place. But for Wal-Mart prices, go to Wal-Mart or Asda (who buy in bulk from China where chess manufacture is a business without soul.
Building the brand
We will offer uncompromising customer service. We will not ship defective goods or goods with blemishes. We will work with our suppliers of choice to help them improve their quality control, so that they are trained to provide the best to us. We will work on our packaging – to let everyone along the way know who this customer has chosen to buy from. We will work hard to make the experience of buying from us a pleasure. The internal packaging of the product will have the marks of ChessBaron, just like old Jaques chess sets had the aged mark of Jaques and his signature (still inforce with a manufactured aged look).
Living up to the brand
We’re in business to make a profit, but profit in the long term. To sacrifice a customers good feeling in the name of a small profit now is short term thinking – we want to think long term. As we progress our business through the years ahead, we need to remember our business purpose, our long term goals. Our mission statement must be carefully crafted to convey that goal. We will still be here in 80 years time, so let’s make sure we keep gaining customer traction, momentum by being on the customers side.
A worldwide Distinuished brand? We’re a way away from that still. But we’ll get there!