Why is it important to invest in brand building?
First of all let’s quickly cover off what we mean by brand.
Your brand is more than just a logo or a tagline; your brand is your purpose, your essence and reason for existing. It is how you act, what you say and how you say it, it’s your personality and a way of doing things that makes your service or product distinctive.
Building and investing in your brand takes time and energy, it’s a long-term relationship, which needs care and attention if it’s to flourish and grow. A brand needs to ensure its meaningful difference, its personality and way of doing business are clearly present throughout the organisation. It also means getting the basics right; service, logistics and operations, all of which can negatively impact your brand if they do not meet customers’ expectations and deliver on your brand’s promise. After all, you’ve invested time and energy establishing your important branding elements: logo, typeface, colours, the tone of voice, values and the big idea, so it’s good practice to pay close attention to all your brand’s touchpoints.
When building your brand and communicating your point of difference: think about how the customer service team pick up the phone, the company’s culture and happiness of its employees, and the type of online user experience that’s been created; what does your packaging communicate and how is your advertising speaking to your audience? Some of the world’s most recognisable brands are very distinctive in how they communicate both verbally and non-verbally through words and images, on and off paper, in person and online.
Now, I appreciate that was a very quick summary on such a big topic but hopefully I’ve painted enough of a picture to illustrate the point. Brands are more than design elements (albeit the design elements are very important for communicating your brand’s uniqueness), brands are a company’s DNA, and something that everyone in the company has an impact on – not just the marketing department – and why is this important? Because strong brands create value, increase customer loyalty, drive market share, create growth and deliver real financial gains, which means more jobs, more innovation, more shareholder value, more, more, more. The BrandZ™ Top 75 Most Valuable Brands Report 2018 found that the value of shares for the top brands (as detailed in their report) rose by 9.3% in the first eight months of 2018 when compared to the FTSE 100 companies, which rose by 1.1%. So, the question should be why wouldn’t you invest in your most valuable asset, your brand, your company’s reputation?
“In any competitive market, what drives margin and growth and separates one business from another – for employees, customers, partners, and investors – is the brand.”
Jim Stengel, author of: Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies. Stengel is also the ex-global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble.
When you think of top brands, what names immediately spring to mind? Coca-Cola, Nike, Virgin, Microsoft, Apple, Sky, John Lewis, HSBC, Vodafone, Amazon? At least a few of those names might roll off your tongue, and quite rightly so. These brands have all invested heavily in building their brand, continuing to evolve and target new audiences in changing markets to ensure that they stay top of mind. They have earned a place in people’s minds through making sure their reason for being and meaningful difference is communicated through great creative campaigns backed up by an on-brand customer experience.
One brand that has earned its brand stripes is Vodafone, it has been named UK’s most valuable brand for the second consecutive year running, according to the BrandZ™ Top 75 Most Valuable Brands Report 2018.
So, let’s take a closer look at what has earned Vodafone this top spot.
Vodafone is an established telecoms provider that launched in 1985. Over the years Vodafone has developed its offering from a mobile phone service provider to providing broadband, landline services, cloud hosting, mobile payment services and access to premium TV content. The brand is widely seen as an innovator who is reliable with good mobile coverage, exclusive deals, choice and good value. In 2017, Vodafone decided to rebrand to better communicate its innovator and future-ready positioning, already established through its products and services, and introduced “The Future is Exciting. Ready?” replacing the “Power to You” tagline used since 2009.
Vodafone stays top of mind through an integrated approach to its marketing, investing in TV advertising, sponsorship, outdoor advertising, press advertising, digital advertising, social media, events and PR. They understand that to reach their audience that one or two media channels will not cut through; consistency of message across multiple channels delivers effectiveness in reach and memorability.
Vodafone is just one example of a company that has taken the time to invest in its brand; continually reviewing all elements to make sure it delivers on its promises and reason for being.
“Brand equity is built through increased recognition, awareness, and customer loyalty, which in turn helps make a company more successful.”
Alina Wheeler, author of: Designing Brand Identity
Now, not all companies have the luxury of big marketing budgets but there are many examples of younger and smaller businesses doing some great brand work because they’ve taken the time to invest in who they are and what they stand for, Brewdog entered in at number 65 on the BrandZ™ Top 75 Most Valuable Brands in 2018 – the only beer brand on the list! Not bad for a company who’s just over ten years old. They are a fine example of a business that has created a distinctive brand and loyal following.
In a nutshell, by focusing on creating a meaningful brand with purpose, which is innovative, provides a great experience, and your communications clearly articulate your essence and reasons why; it will drive brand love, and over time create brand value, increase market share and deliver financial growth.