What Is Your Brand Worth?
Your company is worth more when you invest in your brand. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact that’s supported by research.
The value of the BrandZ Strong Brands Portfolio, for instance, increased by 181.3% between April 2006 and August 2019. Over the same period, the S&P 500 grew by 112% and the MSCI World Index grew by just 57.1%.
Yet, for many businesses, “investing in the brand” stops when they’ve paid a designer to come up with a slick logo. (And some companies don’t even go that far.)
Creating a strong brand is good business. But, like any other investment, you need to take it seriously and know what you’re getting into.
HOW DO GREAT BRANDS WORK?
What do great brands do that makes them stand out from the crowd? Think about brands that you recognise instantly. Virgin, for instance. They’re active across a vast range of markets and sectors. But, when you see the Virgin brand, you trust it. There’s a feeling of reassurance that – behind the logo – there are professional people doing a good job. Even when the underlying business makes mistakes and things go wrong, the brand survives.
There are other brands that are equally strong: Coca Cola, Microsoft, Apple, Google…the list goes on.
None of this is accidental. Strong brands grow out of strong businesses that have a clear idea of their purpose.
“A BRAND IS A LIVING ENTITY”
The American businessman Michael Eisner was in charge of Disney when he said: “A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the small product of a thousand gestures.”
Think about that. “The small product of a thousand gestures.” This means that every single part of the business is aligned with the brand. Every employee – from the CEO to the new kid in the office – knows what the brand means. And they like it. They’re proud of it. They know they’re part of something special.
Now, let’s talk about your business.
WHAT’S YOUR BRAND WORTH?
Do you have a brand? Yes, you do. Whether or not you’ve invested in your brand or even thought about what your brand means, you have one. What’s your brand worth? That’s up to you.
So, what are you going to do with your brand? One option is to do nothing and rely on simply being good at what you do. You can be absolutely certain that some of your competitors take a different view. They’ll build their brands and continue to build them until they eclipse you. Once a brand dominates a market, everyone else works in their shadow – desperately trying to get noticed.
Assuming you don’t fancy the idea of being an also-ran in your market, what can you do about it?
WHAT IS A BRAND?
First, let’s be absolutely clear about what we mean when we talk about ‘brand’.
A brand is a collection of product features, positioning qualities and emotional values. It does not exist in a physical sense. It exists in people’s minds. It is what your company ‘stands for’ and how it’s perceived.
A brand is an organisation’s reputation and a commitment to certain standards. Strong, successful brands are created in the minds of their customers, employees, prospects, and investors. A brand goes beyond a name or a logo, although these are important symbols of the brand.
Your brand is your business. Forget the premises, the spreadsheets, and the organisation plans. Because when people see your brand, they either recognise you and everything you stand for, or they don’t. All the rest of the stuff you do is irrelevant. Spoiler alert: it’s better to be recognised.
BUILDING YOUR BRAND
All of which begs the question: what do you need to do to build a great brand?
As we said before: “Strong brands grow out of strong businesses that have a clear idea of their purpose.” In other words, you start investing in your brand by spending time gaining an in-depth understanding of why your business exists and what needs it seeks to meet.
Once you get past the obvious reasons why your business exists – “to sell energy” for instance – you need to concentrate on what makes you different. What is it about your company that sets you apart from your competitors. If that difference doesn’t exist, what is the difference you would like to be and could you be known for? You also need to take time understanding what your customers need and want – and what the competition offers.
INVOLVE YOUR BUSINESS LEADERS
These are fundamental questions about your business that are not necessarily easy to answer. Take time out from the cut and thrust of day-to-day activity. Turn off all mobiles. Ignore your email. Sit down with members of your key team, talk and identify what makes you stand out from the crowd. Be sure to involve all the leaders of your business and make sure they understand the value of a brand.
Oh, and one other essential requirement. Be realistic about who you are and what you do. Here’s a tip: bring in an outsider – ideally someone who understands branding – to act as a guide to your discussions. Because the fact is that it’s all too easy to get over-enthused and to wander into fantasy land. You need a guide who’ll bring you back to basics and down to earth. If you find yourself sounding like an over-emotional Churchill speech, you’re probably heading in the wrong direction.
Once you have identified and defined the characteristics that make your brand distinctive, you need to filter everything you do and say through the brand. Your brand, your business, and your people need to be fully aligned with what your brand stands for.
BRANDING FOR THE ENERGY SECTOR
At Sims Creative, we specialise in building brands for companies in the energy sector. This is an increasingly crowded market where branding is becoming more important as new companies seek to make an impact and established companies are evolving their brands.
If there’s one lesson we’ve learned from working with so many different companies, it is this: branding is too important to ignore. It is one of the key ways in which you can add value to your business and help it to grow. Start now.
For a free chat about how we can develop and fortify your brand, call our team on +44 (0)1509 410376 – you can also find out more about ways we’ve helped our clients here.