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This is my archive

Don’t Let Your Brand Miss the New Economy

California just entered the “Yellow Tier” which is the least restrictive phase of the pandemic lockdown. If our COVID infections keep dropping as they have been, we’ll soon have an economy that is wide open again. But demand won’t immediately jump to pre-pandemic levels because people will still be cautious. There will still be a lot of unvaccinated people out there and it will be a while before people – especially older people – will be comfortable mixing it up at movies, sporting events or concerts. Still, notwithstanding some parts of the country that are trailing California, and some parts of the world that are still suffering horribly in the emergency, things are finally starting to look up, at least here in the US. But everything will be different in the new economy. There is not a single enterprise that has not changed the way it’s doing business. The market is now more mobile, more digital and more agile. And one thing it won’t tolerate is a stagnant brand. Read More


The Nevium Brand Score Tool

There are many firms that evaluate the commercial worth of businesses. Senior management turns to these firms for a variety of reasons: partnership disputes, regulatory reporting or establishing fair market value, to name just three. These firms use a variety of tools and formulas to assign monetary value to tangible property like equipment, real estate, inventory and every other thing that a business may own. They also account for the value of intangibles like intellectual property, i.e, copyrights, patents and trademarks. But very few of these firms really specialize in intellectual property valuations. Many underestimate brand value because they don’t completely understand what a brand really is and where its full potential lies. One firm that does specialize in precise evaluations of intellectual property (IP) is San Diego-based Nevium. Brandtalk had the recent pleasure of talking to Brian Buss, co-founder and principal of Nevium, about its unique brand assessment rubric, the Nevium Brand Score Tool. What follows are the salient points of our conversation, lightly edited for length. Read More


When Can I Expect ROI From My New Brand?

You decided you’re done “winging it” with your brand. You’ve opted to do a little research and find out exactly what your market wants of you. And now that you’re clear on that, you’re determined to be exactly what your market needs you to be. So you realigned your business with your market and created all-new touch points guaranteed to resonate with your best customers. OK so when does it pay off? The answer is (of course) it depends. It mostly depends on the size of your market. But other factors come into play as well. How well was the new brand promoted? is one key question. The good news is a new brand is likely to start paying dividends almost immediately. For instance, after a rebrand or a brand refresh, there is often a corresponding upward tick in sales. This can be a subtle little bump or a significant increase. We’ve written on the Eight Benefits of Branding before. So this article will focus not on what the benefits are but when you could expect to enjoy them in full. Read More


It’s The Brand, Stupid.

In our last post,we showed how the brand is the most valuable asset of any business. Today, we want to take a few short paragraphs to drive that point home. Especially attentive should be private equity investors. Why? Because they are on a constant quest to drive up the market value of the companies in their portfolios. And attention to brand value is one quick and relatively inexpensive way to get significant results. Founders, owners and others may want heed this advice too but it’s PE investors to whom we speak directly. And to them we offer, as a guiding principal, “It’s the brand, stupid.” Read More


How Brands Drive Up Multiples

Repeat after me. “Our brands are our most valuable assets … and our only assets that appreciate over time.” Try saying it aloud a few times. Your brand, unlike your tangible assets, will never depreciate. Your brand, unlike your patents, will never expire. Your brand, unlike your copyrights, will never pass into the public domain. Your brand is yours to keep and grow – forever. If you are the owner or manager of a brand asset, it is your job to define your true brand promise, to communicate it to every corner of your market, and to empower your employees to deliver on it. Do this and your brand will grow like wild vines. Fail to do it and your brand will wither and, possibly, even die. You owe it to yourself and everyone who counts on your organization to do everything possible to drive up the monetary value of your brand. And it turns out driving up brand value is the quickest and most assured way of driving up the overall worth of a business. Driving up brand value all but guarantees more multiples when it comes time to exit the investment. Read More


The Brand Lens

A brand strategy is actually an extremely powerful decision-making tool for management. And senior executives should be using that tool to help with every decision. All too often, after a business successfully completes a branding or re-branding initiative, they roll it out, throw a party and then forget all about it. “Hey, the new logo is out there, right? Let Marketing run with it.” With this kind of attitude, is isn’t long before their brand is in the weeds again. Read More


Don’t break your brand promise … ever.

I don’t pretend to know a thing about the recent GameStop trading debacle. From what I gather, and please know that there are better sources on this than me, all the big investment banks, brokerages and hedge funds were selling GameStop short. That’s an unsurprising tactic because it’s a mostly obsolescent brand. A consortium of day traders who hate short sellers, hedge funds (or both) organized on Reddit to buy up GameStop stock. That sent the price skyrocketing and caused massive losses for all the short sellers and the day traders got to enjoy their stick-it-to-the-man moment. Let’s ignore the morality of all this. The system is unfair, to be sure, favoring institutional traders at the expense of the little guy. But the losses from this gambit won’t be felt by the big fund managers. It will be felt by all the fixed-income retirees whose pension funds are managed by the hedge funds, etc. So, to me, this feels like asymmetric warfare, like killing a fly with a shotgun. But, again, let’s ignore that and, like I said, I don’t really understand, completely, what I’m talking about anyway. But I do know a branding disaster when I see one, and there’s a doozy here. Read More


Build A Flexible Brand

A brand is the relationship between a marketable asset and its market. Like every other relationship, its going to change over time. Change, after all, is the only constant. Unfortunately, history is rife with examples of brands that were too rigid to change with their markets. Those brands are now distant memories. Brands have to be able to change because market needs change. Someone pointed out that in every era, pundits of the time claimed that change was happening faster then than ever before. The 60s experienced faster change than the 50s. The 70s more than the 60s, and so on. But today, we truly are in the “evolving present”. (I wish I had coined that term but, alas, someone else did.) And we’re all dealing with the massive disruption that is COVID-19. Today change is evolving along multiple dimensions. If you define your brand by the thing that you sell, it’s going to be in trouble when your market doesn’t need that thing anymore. Read More


A Post-Pandemic Brand Refresh?

In a couple of days, on January 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as president. On that same day exactly one year prior, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the United States. What a terrible anniversary. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, gone. Thousands of businesses, shuttered. Tens of millions of jobs, lost. The economy in shambles. And, right now, the plague as bad as it’s ever been. So even though, in the next couple of months, we’re likely to get a better national plan for testing and contact tracing, and even though vaccine distribution and actual inoculations should ramp up, and even though there’s likely to be another, bigger economic rescue coming, right now we’re still very much in the tunnel. But there is a tiny pin prick of light at the end of it. If all goes well, we should start to begin emerging from the worst of the emergency by summer. If your business is still hanging on, you’ll soon have an opportunity to show you’ve not only survived, you’ve thrived. Read More


Two Additions To Your Brand Strategy For 2021

Most businesses completed their plans for the new year by the end of the old one. Given how disruptive 2020 turned out to be, business leaders are in dire need of a respite. They’re hoping that a new administration and widespread accessibility to COVID vaccines will calm things down a little bit. It will be good to get back to business as usual, if we can. But, even if the outlook does get better, the knock-on effects of last year will be with us for a while yet. And the new year is bound to surface its own set of challenging circumstances, just like in any “normal” year. So, whatever unique objectives your business is setting out to achieve in 2021, be sure to add these two planks to your platform. Read More