When it comes to brands, there have been a plethora of studies and multiple opinions on the subject. But one thing is abundantly clear: Brands do matter—whether they are internationally known or only to people in your hometown.

There is a reason companies spend millions of dollars each year promoting and markeing their names, not to mention the amount of money spent in legal fees trying to protect a brand from being copied or turned into a commodity. Think Xerox, Kleenex, Coke, these are all brand names for a particular type of thing but, in some ways, because these companies have historically done such a good job in promoting their brand name they have become synonomous with the generic product they are offering. And, it’s not just the name that matters, it’s also the logo, such as Nike’s “swoosh,” or the symbol for most car companies, movie studios or sports teams to name a few.

Whether it’s the name or the logo, these and other companies spend countless dollars reminding people why their brand is more than just the generic version of the product, because they understand consumers are driven to things they know, not to mention trust.

That’s right, a brand is more than just a company spending money promoting its name. Think of how many brands have come and gone over the years—even ones that were once hallmarks (no pun intended) of their industry and are now out of business or just a shell (again no pun intended) of what they once were.

In a report called, “Beyond Trust,” by Millward Brown and The Futures Co., the authors note, “Brands serve their owners by allowing them to cultivate customer recognition of, and loyalty toward, their offerings. Brands also serve the consumer by supplying information about the quality, origin, and value of goods and services. Without brands to guide buying decisions, the free market would become a confusing, faceless crowd of consumables. An established and respected brand can be the most valuable asset a company possesses.”

Essentially, a brand is a promise between the seller and the buyer that the product and/or company will do what it says—and in some cases go above and beyond expectations.

As noted branding writer and professional David Dolak said, “Brands create a perception in the mind of the customer that there is no other product or service on the market like yours. A brand promises to deliver value upon which consumers can rely to be consistent over long periods of time.”

If there is any lingering doubt about brands mattering, this latest recession should put an end to it as various studies, including Beyond Trust, have shown “many brands maintained and grew their value, even when selling at premium prices.”

Remember, brands do not need to be nationally known names. Your company may only have a strong reputation in the city it is in, which is all that counts since that is where you are doing business.

But, it doesn’t hurt to partner with nationally known brands as they can only help increase store traffic since consumers are seeing these names advertised everyday. A true collaboration between local and national brands can be a powerful combination for success.

The flooring industry has many known brands—in all suface categories—and there are many retailers who are pillars in their communities. Use yours and your partners’ name recognition to your advantage—it’s not a bad thing.