Every business has a brand. Good, bad or indifferent, every business has its market. And that market has opinions, perceptions and feelings about the business. That relationship is the brand. But it’s easy to forget sometimes because very few businesses actually work their brands to add value. Most small and middle-market businesses just stick to their knitting and let their brands “just happen”. They spend little or no time figuring out how to make their brand relationships better and more valuable. They feel they don’t have the resources to review their brands and make them stronger. They feel that is the domain of much larger companies. To an extent, that’s true. Larger companies do have more resources. But part of the reason they’re large companies now is because they devoted resources to brand-building when they were smaller. It’s no accident that market leaders in every sector have strong, well-managed brands. At this time of year, when businesses are planning their investments for the coming year, let 2019 be the year you finally leverage your brand for competitive advantage and economic gain.
Innovation is a matter of asking questions of an organization that no one seems to have the time or inclination to ask. But, when you do ask questions such as: What business are we in?, and really drill down on the answer, you see your business in new, inspirational ways. When you develop those insights into a new brand strategy, and then execute that strategy, you’ll begin to benefit from these eight economic advantages.
1 – More sales
All sales are driven by emotion. Yes, even B2B sales. A brand strategy spotlights the emotional triggers that move markets to buy. It attracts new customers and draws more sales out of existing customers. The boost in sales can be dramatic or it could be subtle. But even a subtle uptick in sales can be maintained over the long term.
2 – More opportunities for growth
A powerful brand provides a consistent and credible platform for geographic expansion, new product or service lines and other new business endeavors. A brand that is strong in one field is given the benefit of the doubt when moving into another.
3 – Cost savings in marketing and human resources
Brand strategy creates a long-term vision for your marketing efforts, resulting in fewer miscues and wasted effort. And the same brand strategy that attracts your best customers also attracts your best employees. That means fewer recruiting and training costs.
4 – A championship workforce
When employees perceive your offerings as valuable and authentic, they become true brand ambassadors, happily maximizing all customer relationships and touch points.
5 – Devoted customers
You’ve heard it before: “I love Kellogg’s corn flakes.” or “I love Odwalla orange juice.” When customers decide they love your brand, they become your best brand champions. They evangelize on your behalf, sending new accounts and opportunities your way. They strenuously resist of competitors to lure them away.
6 – Premium pricing and price stability
When markets falter, owners of poorly branded products and services often have to cut prices to stay in the game, thus commoditizing their offerings. Because they’ve given customers a reason to love them, beyond price, strong brands can charge a premium and can hold those prices steady. Strong brands cut last and cut least.
7 – A powerful management tool
When you’re clear on what your brand promise is, you can use that as a filter for all strategic decisions. It’s called the Brand Lens. View the important choices facing your business by asking: “Will this help or hinder our abilities to deliver on our brand promise?” If it helps, go for it. If it will be a hinderance, find another way. Regular use of the Brand Lens will future-proof your business.
8 – A higher valuation for your company
The market regards a strong brand as a premium asset. It rewards organizations that integrate a clear brand vision into their everyday business operations. Those who neglect to invest in effective branding strategies leave money on the table – as much as 70% – when it comes time to merge or sell.
A brand is any organization’s most valuable asset and the only asset that increases in value over time. Patents expire. Copyrights pass into the public domain. But brands live forever and add more and more value as they mature. But that’s only if the owners or managers of those assets are innovative enough to recognize what powerful tools they have at their disposal and use those tools to ensure the organization’s success. Plan for developing a brand strategy in early 2019.
Best Branding Reads – Week of November 26, 2018
TOMS Donates $5 Million to End Gun Violence
TOMS is taking a stand. More evidence that brands are more effective than government in tackling social issues.
Young People Will Reward Brands That Take a Stand
Exactly what we’ve been talking about in recent weeks.
Successful Brand Cultures Live Their Beliefs
The issues of running a business come and go but “Culture is forever”.
How Charlie Herrin Is Transforming Customer Experience at Comcast
A good case study for all the service brands out there.
Budget 'love is a gift' Christmas ad goes viral
Get your hanky ready for this one. An incredibly effective ad for the Sony brand.
New Logo for Bank of America
I never cared for the icon to begin with so it’s hard to get excited by this well-done design refreshment.
Microsoft dethrones Apple as the most valuable US company
Will this insane rivalry ever end?