Invest in your brand for the sake of the business

One of the consistent questions we get (and often the sticking point for businesses wanting to explore ‘marketing’), is ‘what is brand and can you...

Invest in your brand for the sake of the business

One of the consistent questions we get (and often the sticking point for businesses wanting to explore ‘marketing’), is ‘what is brand and can you measure its effectiveness’ (or more to the point ‘how will I see the return on my investment’?).

Brand is often perceived as something intangible that can’t be measured. It seems ambiguous and something that is often indescribable. Yet we know it’s real. We see successful brands everywhere in our daily lives. We want them. We buy them. We are loyal to them. We only have to look at these brands to know that brand is real and has a financially proven impact on the bottom line - but for some, we still can’t seem to get our head around investing in it.

So what is a ‘brand’?

Well, it’s way more than a logo and it’s colours for starters. A brand isn’t just about a look (although this is incredibly important and is the foundation for everything else to be built upon). Think of it as a character. Your character needs to be able to wave from across the street to somebody it likes the look of and get a thumbs up in return (for those of us who prefer visual learning!).

What a brand means to consumers can not be overlooked. Your branding is the vehicle which delivers your message. Your promises and guarantees. Your company values. It sets you aside from your competition. It speaks to your audience. It makes you approachable. Provides warmth and comfort. Confidence. Encourages loyalty, trust and commitment. It subtly demands a price for what the product is worth. It creates an impact.

The relationship between brand and marketing 

Your brand needs proper support and to do this, you need to implement a marketing strategy and be consistent with your activities. This is where the effectiveness can really be measured. But it comes hand in hand. Investing in marketing without a strong brand is just throwing money away. A weak brand is never going to attract your ideal customer and so you will become frustrated at spending on marketing. This leads to ‘cutting back on marketing’. It’s a vicious circle which we see all the time. But marry up an effective marketing strategy with a good brand that resonates with your audience and just watch the magic happen.

So, top tips for a ‘good’ brand …
  • Work with a professional to create a brand which talks to your audience. Design with the future in mind. Be authentic and memorable. You need people to understand what it is that you do so be careful not to be too ‘clever’. 
  • Once you’re happy, create a set of Brand Guidelines (this will stop anybody deviating from being ‘on brand’).
  • Message is key! Conduct an internal workshop with key members of the team to agree ‘the right message’ for your target audience(s) (there may be more than one!). Again, you could use a professional here to conduct this. The important thing to remember is that you must translate whatever you feel in to a message for external use that works. Keep the consumer in mind at all times. Put yourself in their shoes.
  • Be consistent. Don’t do all this amazing work and only keep it up for a month or so. This is not a sign of a good brand and consumer trust will plummet.
  • Excel at your deliverables and customer service; easily translated to ‘do what you say you’re going to do’. The effect on a company brand when they don’t deliver what they promise can be devastating (most of us have been on the receiving end!).
  • Keep the team updated with your plans for the brand and marketing. The more you involve your team and get them on board with your vision, the more powerful the vision (and results!) will be.

Ultimately, the most important measure of branding is whether the product or service is selling. If you are investing in your brand and marketing and achieving what you set out to achieve it's a good indicator that your branding is effective.