What is it? What does it do? Why should it be important? How do you assign value to it?
When addressing brand and all of the aspects around brand: brand strategy, brand development, branding, brand awareness, brand promise, brand position… a company must be very clear as to what brand means to the company and how the company can use brand to influence business objectives.
Brand is so much more than a logo and coordinated color schemes. It is more than just simply distributing a message across advertising or digital platforms. It is much more than a big, sexy idea.
- Brand defines who the company is to everyone it encounters in the market: customers, partners, competitors, competitive peers, suppliers, distributors, employees, potential employees…
- Brand also defines why the company is who it is to all of these people in its markets.
- Brand defines how the company pulls levers of influence in the market.
Although many service providers take a, “patented,” cookie-cutter approach, it is important to understand that a true comprehensive approach to brand is very, very custom to a specific company and the nuances in market sectors. Building brand to be a business asset that can be utilized for competitive advantage, revenues and profitability requires brand to be in the fabric of market operations.
Depending on the market strategy on how to compete, brand will instruct specific aspects of business such as:
- company policies
- messaging in advertising / promotional / digital / social
- company visuals in marketing and sales collateral
- marketing promises and how to deliver on those promises
- use of language
- marketing strategy
- sales strategy
- business development strategy
- distribution strategy
- market positioning
- selection of marketing and sales tactics
- customer acquisition & retention
- customer experience
- the structure of customer relationships
- pricing structure
- company behavior
- competitive strategy
- target markets
- identification of markets to participate in and not to participate in
When brand is very specific, very custom for a company in this way, it becomes an asset for:
overcoming competitive obstacles and threats
applying value propositions
customer / client / patient / user choice and preference
valuation leverage in mergers and acquisitions
Brand is often overlooked as an asset to be utilized in a company. This is because brand is often seen simply as a marketing concept with too much fluff, and approaches to brand have become to generalized and manufactured.
The missed opportunity is that, when brand is developed and implemented very specifically for the company and how the company competes, brand can become an asset on the balance sheet.