Your brand is your single most powerful asset. It can help grab market share, increase revenue – and if you need investment it can help there too. If you are not thinking about your brand, you could be missing out.
So when I say it’s a businesses most powerful asset, I mean it. That is why branding is so important
And you know when you should think about it? All. The. Time.
What is a brand?
Say it with me – a logo is not a brand. So what is a brand if it’s not a logo, or a neat little book of guidelines? There have been many definitions over the years. There is only one correct answer. Brand is the meaning that individuals assign to your business, product or service.
Marty Neumeier, who literally wrote the book on the subject, describes it as, “Brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.”
Jeff Bezos, famous for infiltrating the home with dangerously convenient shopping said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
It is not something you control directly. Every single person carries with them an idea of what your brand is based on their own interactions, experiences and exposure to it.
A good brand will increase the value of your products, company and help you claim a larger market share.
Why is it important?
Branding is the process of curating and managing the idea of your company that people hold in their minds. Brand strategy is the method of doing that. This is why branding is important. It is the substance that underpins everything and answers some fundamental questions about your business:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Who do you do it for?
- Why does it matter?
These aim to help you stand out in your category and connect with your audience. These aren’t just for show either. Your company has to live and breathe it. From how your staff answer the phone to the quality of the ground-breaking new offering you’re unleashing on the world. Every interaction is an opportunity to plant that seed of who you are and why you do what you do into people’s minds.
Your communications should all form parts of the puzzle for getting that authenticity to your audience. When combined together gives them a picture of your brand.
When should you think about your brand?
The simple answer is, all the time. Every new challenge, whether it’s an interaction on Twitter, or climate change. There are many points that you should think about it. Having a brand strategy in place will help you with those challenges.
Look at VW, wrapped up in the diesel emissions scandal. That’s a big inflection point for a company. Their response? A pivot from emissions to an electric future. Jochen Sengpiehl, the company’s CMO says, “We want to become more human and move lively, to adopt the customer’s perspective to a greater extent and to tell authentic stories.”. Which sounds like a pitch to reconnect in a way that will build the trust they lost.
Brand is a living entity, and while the purpose should be broad enough to stay the same, your vision and how you communicate can evolve.
It’s important you say?
Hugely important. Why is it important? A good brand that resonates with your customers – will mean marketing have an easier task getting their time and attention. They are more receptive when they do, which means sales have an easier time selling. Your cost per acquisition goes down, sales goes up. Sounds pretty good! This is why – in the case of Coca-cola – the brand can hold 61% of the share value. Not the operating costs, or the physical stock – just the idea that people hold about the company.
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And, it’s just an idea. A thought people have about your company. But ideas are powerful. So curating what those ideas might be – that is why branding is so important.
Ideas are useless unless backed up by action. A brand is lived. It is brought to life by the communication and actions of everyone at your company. If we take a big example in Nike. Their purpose is “to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities, and an equal playing field for all.”. It’s pretty lofty, but, they back it up with actions.
Nike’s support of Colin Kaepernick netted it $163 million in earned media, a $6 billion brand valuation increase, and a 31% boost in sales. When brands support causes that resonate with their audience – it can help bring about positive change, both in raising awareness for the cause but the brand too.
With your business, you may not be looking at valuations like Coke or Nike, but you can still lever the power of branding.
How important is your brand?
Whether you are a start-up, a Fortune 100 organisation or somewhere in between – you need to think about your brand. It is the backbone to your business and it should be working as hard for you as all the other parts of it. If you feel like you could be getting more out of your brand, let’s have a talk about how we can help.
This post was originally written for my friends over at Destination Digital