Do brands really matter?

BrandingEvery business has a brand, whether they’ve developed it or not.

A brand lives in the way a company goes about its business; the type of product or service on offer, the way the phone’s answered, pricing, the look of the brochures, the time it takes for a customer to get their goods or service, the way enquiries are dealt with, the way complaints are dealt with, the personality of the CEO, internal policy and processes, the attitude of staff and internal culture, what the papers say, the thing that’s different about them, and so on and so on and so on.

The cost of not defining and owning your brand is the market will do it for you, so it’s really important your brand doesn’t happen by accident. The real opportunity is to focus on attributes your competitors don’t own, and build your customer experience from there.

A brand is one of the most powerful tools an organisation can use to demonstrate accountability and leadership in the area it does business. It can also be one of the most misunderstood.

Branding isn’t about ‘spin’. Integrity must be at the heart of any brand. If the brand story doesn’t ring true, customers see through it. If you stay true to your brand, your customers will get behind it, live it and really believe in it. It’s the same for employees, too.

If you position your brand competitively in the market and evocatively in the hearts and minds of your customers, you’re giving them reasons to:

  • Trust you
  • Buy from you
  • Be loyal
  • Be an ambassador and source of referrals

Any sustainable business needs to:

  • Have a core essence at its heart – something that’s different from everyone else
  • Deliver value propositions that are relevant and compelling
  • Create emotional connections with customers at every touch point
  • Use different marketing media and channels to not only create awareness, but engage in dialogue too

Instead of ‘supply and demand’, a successful brand generates ‘demand and supply’.