A company’s brand is more than just it’s logo. It is what the company outwardly projects and how the company tells us as potential clients and consumers what they are about, what they value, and what we can expect from their product or service. It is also what sets a company apart from competition and how they tell their audience why they should pick them and not someone else.
Having a strong brand presence will benefit any company regardless of their size, industry, or location. Specifically, a strong brand presence can help you and your company:
Simply put, if your company wants to continue to grow as well as be sustainable it is essential that it cultivates a strong brand presence.
Whether you’re a non-profit or a for-profit, your organisation needs to compete for resources, funding and talent, and audience attention. To win your category, organisations plan and implement strategy—a roadmap that outlines specific actions and measures for reaching their goals and out manoeuvring their peers for needed resources. When done correctly the organisation’s brand mirrors their strategic plan, and helps promote strategic areas and initiatives that will move the organisation forward.
Branding helps consumers develop a specific image that contains the qualities and characteristics business owners want consumers to associate with their business and its products or services. For example, cartoon images of a happy dog may help a consumer feel more comfortable using a particular pet grooming service. A distinct brand can increase the memorability of a product and build repeat business. If consumers are satisfied after purchasing the product, a strong brand makes it easy for them to make repeat purchases without much reconsideration. This can all translate into a wider customer base, increased sales and revenue growth.
The value of organisations is divided into two areas: intangible and tangible assets—brands being intangible assets. A study of organisations in the S&P 500 index showed that over a 30-year period between 1975 and 2003 the overall corporate value of intangible assets increased from 17% to 80%. The magazine Businessweek has concluded that brands account for more than one-third of shareholder value. This leaves us with the conclusion that the value of most businesses comes from intangible assets, brands being the most prominent of these assets. Consider that the Coca-Cola brand name alone is worth $67million and accounts for over 54% of the stock market value of the organisation. Or consider the value of brand to a non-profit like the Red Cross and the importance of their brand in attracting donations and volunteers. Because of their financial impact, brands are a unique organisational asset. Brands play a key role in attracting employees, partners and most importantly audiences to an organisation. Brands help cut through the clutter of the marketplace, creating awareness for organisations and helping them attract and develop the mutually beneficial relationships with customers, suppliers and the public that they need to reach their goals.
We live in a world based on promises. The airline mechanic promises to do a thorough job, checking and rechecking the aircraft to make sure it’s safe. Restaurants promise to provide fresh food made in clean environments. Our teachers promise to educate and protect our children during the school day. Often there are legal repercussions that bind people to fulfil these promises, but more often than not promises and vows are maintained based on the individual’s own moral and ethical code. We have an unspoken contract with the people we live and work with, that they will do what they say they’ll do. We have similar agreements with companies, products and services.
At the heart of branding is the promise that is made by the organisation to the audience. The brand promise tells the audiences who you are, what you believe in, and what unique value you provide. The ability to fulfil your promises at every stage of the relationship is the defining factor for most organisations success or failure. When promises are broken the reputation of the organisation is called into question, and the brand suffers. When brand promises are kept, audiences respond with loyalty and affection.
We encounter brand promises on a daily basis. The simple act of getting a drink out of a vending machine is an exercise in brand promise. The vending machine offers many drink options to choose from, but more than likely our drink selection will be based on prior experiences with a specific product. We have an expectation of an experience when we make our selection, much of which has been established through the decision-making steps of awareness, interest, desire, and satisfaction.
Interestingly, the things that influence our decision-making process have little to do with the product or service. Much of our experience with a product or service is created through the associations that we’ve made with the product through advertising, brand identity and the environment in which the product is experienced.