VW pivoted their brand away from diesel scandals to an electric future, reflected in their visual brand and products.
I know what you’re thinking – not another person banging on about branding and how you should think about your brand. Every marketer, designer and strategist seems to be doing it (or maybe that’s just the people I follow?). But there is a solid reason everyone talks about branding.
It’s really important!
Without thinking about your brand you could be missing out on market share, or revenue. Trying to get outside investment? Yep, branding will help there too. And you know when you should think about your brand? All. The. Time.
Say it with me – my logo is not my 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 but, the correct answer is a brand is the meaning that individuals assign to your business, product or service.
Marty Neumeier, who literally wrote the book on branding, 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.”
Brand is not something you control directly. Every single person carries with them a different idea of what your brand is based on their own interactions, experiences and exposure to it.
A good brand will mean your products can sell for more, your company will be worth more, you can claim a larger market share than your competitors, or people are more likely to come back to you when they need to.
Branding is the process of curating and managing the brand that people hold in their minds. Brand strategy is the method of doing that – it is the substance that underpins everything and answers some fundamental questions about your business:
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 brand communications should all form parts of the puzzle for getting that authenticity to your audience, whether it’s the tone of voice, logo, or the sounds your new amazing product makes when you turn it on.
Purpose-led participation in social causes not only raise awareness but help build brands too.
The simple answer is, all the time. Every new challenge your company faces, whether it’s a customer interaction on Twitter, a global pandemic, or climate change – they are all points that you need to think about your brand. Having a brand strategy in place will help you with those challenges, or it might be an inflection point where you have to go in a slightly different direction and rethink your strategy slightly.
Look at VW, wrapped up in the diesel emissions scandal. That’s a big inflection point for a company. Their response? Jochen Sengpiehl, the company’s chief marketing officer 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.”. So a move to connect more with individuals with a pivot from emissions to an electric future.
Your brand is a living entity, and while the purpose should be broad and lofty enough to stay the same, your vision and how you communicate and act upon it may change, or evolve.
Hugely important. Everyone was talking recently about Cristiano Ronaldo knocking billions of dollars off Coca-Cola’s share price – which it may well have done – but in the blink of an eye all the news coverage and free advertising more than made up for it. The important thing to remember is that share price holds about 61% of its valuation from its brand. Not the operating costs, or the physical stock, or how many factories they have – just the idea that people hold about the company.
Nike’s purpose-driven 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 fit with them, and resonate with their audience – it can bring about positive change, both in raising awareness for the cause but the brand too.
Now with your business, you may not be looking at brand valuations like Coke or Nike, but you can still lever the power of branding to attract outside investment, or gain market share and boost your sales.
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.
Thom Baker is a Certified Brand Specialist and Graphic Designer who has been building brands for start-ups and global corporations for 12 years – both agency and in-house. Thom is fuelled by creating positive change. He is also fuelled by cups of tea.
If you’d like help with digital marketing strategy, please email us on email@example.com or give us a call on 01629 810199. If you’d like to talk to Thom about your brand and its vision, then head on over to https://abergast.co.uk/ to find out more.
If you’d like help with digital marketing, ads management, SEO, copywriting, websites, branding or social media management… or anything else related to the internet and digital, then get in touch with us. We’re a friendly bunch.