I still come across quite sizeable businesses that think branding means little more than a new or refreshed logo. And thus a simple design job ticks the branding box. Which means we marketers have failed to sell the importance and impact of a strong brand. Ironic, given we’re in the business of persuasion.
What is a brand anyway?
Your brand is your reputation. It’s how people feel about your business. It’s what they say about you to their family, friends and business contacts. It’s the collected associations and experiences that frame your customers’ perceptions of you. Together, these determine their willingness to buy from you, how much they’re prepared to pay for the privilege and how long they’ll remain loyal to you.
In short, a strong brand enables you to sell more stuff, to more people, at higher prices, for longer. You can’t control it – it exists in the minds of others. But you can manage and influence it. If you don’t you risk falling behind those of your competitors who do.
So, looking after your brand sounds like a no brainer, right? Then again, as someone who makes a living out of building brands, I would say that wouldn’t I?
Where’s the proof?
Here’s some of the best available evidence based on extensive research*. Thanks to Tom Roach for compiling it.
- Brand value accounts for c20% of a business’s market capitalisation.
- Strong brands far outperform the growth of the average company.
- Brands with high ‘power’ scores capture 3x the volume sales of the average brand.
- High strength brands command a price premium.
- They have 4x greater odds than weak brands of growing.
So, how do you go about it?
Building a strong brand starts with being clear about your purpose. Then defining your vision and values, and setting out a focused strategy. With those in place, you can start to articulate your unique story and distinctive style. What makes your business different and special? How will you stay ahead of the competition?
Only when those are clear should you get down to the business of creating your visual identity – your logo, corporate colours, design style and use of photos and other imagery. The role of design is to help you communicate what your brand is about. As the famous graphic designer, Paul Rand, said: “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.”
No time like the present
Thanks to the ongoing Brexit debacle, we live in worrying and uncertain times. Whatever the eventual outcome, there’ll be winners and losers. The impacts on your business may not be immediately obvious. What should be obvious is that those businesses that invest in building a strong brand that’s fit for the future, are far more likely to survive and prosper than those that don’t look beyond short term sales.
*See this Slideshare presentation by Tom Roach for further details and references.
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