What is the Value of a Brand? Especially Brand Strategy – Your Promise, Position and Personality?
Sure, a good brand will increase awareness, consideration and loyalty but you’ve heard that already haven’t you? You’ve heard all the Mom and apple-pie cheerleading for brand as a part of a nutritious breakfast. You’ve heard enough.
So for this post, we’re going to pull the value of brand down from the upper atmosphere and root it in the good brown earth of the people without whom brand wouldn’t matter. Here we go.
1. Your Customers
OK, the first one was obvious, wasn’t it? When we think of brand, it’s often in terms of our relationship with our customers. But lets get particular here. Imagine you are a B2B start-up, you’ve got a new product that doesn’t have much of a profile or track record. You’re looking to bag a big customer, one that can bring in needed revenue but also drive product requirements as you develop your product, a referenceable customer who can give priceless credibility as you move deeper into the market.
When you approach a prospect with these hopes in mind, think how a great brand can help them. It will help them understand your value as you pitch a new and unfamiliar product or idea. It will give them a sense of competence and stability that can encourage your would-be customer to take a chance on you. It creates anticipation for the bigger ideas and values that your product may address in the future.
Past the start-up phase? Maybe, but your company is probably always looking to enter new markets, take on a bigger class of customer, or launch a new product. Stellar companies are always, in some sense, in start-up mode, and a great brand is a magnet to those cornerstone customers who drive growth.
2. Your Investors
OK, back to thinking like a start-up. You’re looking for some capital to launch you to the next phase, so you’re talking to angel investors, venture capitalists, and private equity firms. Do you wait to get the money to invest in your brand, or do you engage your brand in the search for money? Well, consider that you’ve got to make much the same sale to your investor as you must to your customer – explain the value of your product and display competence and security as an organization.
What’s more, investors, no matter what the size, are interested in long-term growth, and these days more investors recognize that strong brands are the killer app when it comes to building long-term value. A good product and a good customer list is all very well and good, but a great brand can take you and your investor straight to the top. And having a great brand all ready when you approach an investor puts you in a much stronger position when it comes to talking terms.
3. Your Team
Customer, check. Investor, check. But you also need the best talent to deliver on your brand promise, right? It may be a buyer’s market right now, but the most sought-after people will always be careful who they sign with. And they’re looking for many of the same things your customers and investors are. They want to be excited by a great idea. They want to connect with a great company with a big future. They want a well crafted image that makes sense to them, and that they can tell other people about. They want to hitch their name and their career to the winning team.
It all comes back to people, doesn’t it?
We say that brand does this, or brand does that, but in the end it is people who make things happen. A strong brand can be a rallying point, a pole star by which customers, investors and your team members can set their priorities and clarify their thinking. Your brand can even help your recruiting process as it crystalizes your appeal for potential employees. People and brand strategies exist in a mutually reinforcing relationship. Sometimes this feedback loop is positive, and we call that a great brand. Sometimes it is destructive, and we call that a Brand Scam.
So if you’re looking for how a great brand builds value, look to these types of people. Then imagine how a better brand can help.