Over the course of my career, I’ve spoken with literally hundreds of companies, properties, organizations, and events about the importance of branding. You’d be amazed at how many times during that span I’ve been witness to debates regarding whether or not branding is important.
Not to tip my hand, but from where I’m sitting, whether or not branding is important does not qualify as a debatable topic. But why is branding important?
A company’s brand is the face that brand shows the world and, even more critically, the face the world projects on the brand. It goes beyond a company’s logo; rather, it’s that company’s personality, tone, culture, packaging, value proposition, name, service style, ideals, font, ethos, level of quality, tagline, mission, and a thousand other things. A company’s brand is the lifestyle it represents. It’s a company’s DNA. What could be more important than that?
The best companies spend an incredible of time identifying, refining, evolving, and embracing their brands. In these instances, a company’s entire business strategy emanates from the brand and what it stands for – the brand is the sun in the company solar system.
This may seem like a lot of work, but the payoff is well worth the effort. Strong brands cut through the clutter, and build authentic relationships with their customers that, in some cases, border on obsessive. They are consistent and trusted, and they engender loyalty.
Often, a strong brand can overcome pricing challenges that befall competitors. This isn’t always the case, but think of some of the companies that make every “Top Brand” list – Apple, BMW, Mercedes, Nike, etc. Even though more affordable alternatives are available, customers routinely pay more for products made by these companies because they trust them, are bought in to what they represent, and want to associate with them.
Strong brands have self-made evangelists; that is, customers who promote their brands for them (for free) through both actions and words. I may be biased, but I’d say investing time and resources to develop and execute a comprehensive brand strategy is more than worth it when you consider that return.
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