Without always being able to get a solid and immediate ROI measurement on brand-building initiatives, many companies often relinquish the importance of investing in their brands. It’s sometimes seen merely as an expense with no true correlation to the success of the company.
However, as we’ve discussed many times over, there are four key things a strong brand can to for your bottom line:
- Maintain customer loyalty
- Increase lead conversion
- Resist commoditization
- Command premium pricing
Maintain customer loyalty – reinforces your customers’ commitment to you, reassures them of their expectations in your products and services, and prevents them from buying elsewhere simply based on price. Also, makes selling additional products and services to them much easier.
Increase lead conversion – a strong brand that is known and trusted gives people confidence in becoming customers, and alleviates the need to “prove” yourself.
Resist commoditization – because of your unique brand promise and/or “value-add” to your products and services, they are “worth more” than just face value. Decisions to buy your products or services are base on more than just price.
Command premium pricing – people know “you get what you pay for” with strong brands. In other words, if customers trust your brand they will spend more for your products and services.
Pat LaPointe reiterates, defines and breaks down these four points further in a recent article entitled “Ten Specific Ways Brand Investments Pay Back”.
One of the most frequent questions I get about measuring marketing is: “How do we measure the impact of our investments in brand development on the bottom line?”
If you’re really looking for an answer, here goes. There are ten basic ways a stronger brand creates financial value:
- It can attract more customers, either directly or through stronger word of mouth (WOM).
- It can encourage customers to spend more with you, making them more receptive to other solutions you can offer, or just more likely to give you the first shot at meeting their needs.
- It can influence the mix of products/services customers buy from you, since buyers normally hold strong brands in some degree of esteem, and respect the “advice” of the brand.
- It can reduce customers’ price sensitivity, allowing you to earn more margin from every dollar they spend with you.
- It can help you keep customers active longer, or at the very least, act as a “safety net” to give you time or opportunity to fix problems that arise along the way.
- It can help you accelerate the customer’s buying process, reducing the probability that something happens to close the wallet before the spending happens.
- It can help you attract and retain better talent at lower recruiting and retention costs, since people want to be associated with attractive brands.
- It can reduce operating expenses by influencing supplier concessions from companies who want to be associated with top-tier brand partners.
- It can attract more/better channel partners.
- And if that’s not enough for your CFO, tell him or her how stronger brands can actually help lower your organization’s cost-of-capital borrowing costs, due to the lower risks of lending to a company with strong brands (all other things being equal). It’s not unlike how studies have consistently shown that taller people make more money than equally qualified people of average or lower height.
Most of the time, the business case for branding investments can be made in some combination of these ten elements. Of course, you’ll need some data (or at least some well-structured assumptions) to make the case credibly. But it can be done with even just a little data.
You’ll also need some idea of just when you expect to see these effects begin to occur, and what the early indicators of progress might be (e.g. shift in perceptions, website engagement, etc.). Setting up your marketing metrics to monitor these milestones becomes more crucial to the cause as your timeframe for payback gets longer.
Spending is still tough these days, but investing in yourself, your products and your services can mean the difference between bickering over price and getting a ROI back tenfold.
Brand initiatives can take many forms – strategy and messaging, visual communication, social networking, etc. – or a combination of any or all. Contact us today to help assess your brand’s strengths and weaknesses to develop a strategy that will make the most of a worthy investment.
Visit Acceler8 Creative’s website.
Visual communication is often what people think of for telling their story and communicating their brand attributes to their audience. Let’s step back and look at some key positions within a company that are potentially, highly-effective and important, yet often overlooked for communicating a brand.
If you’re at all familiar with our branding philosophy, you already know that a brand is built on clarity, distinction, trust and impact. When you boil it down, your brand is the relationship you have with your customers. Therefore, communicating consistently through all channels of communication is of utmost importance. This means everyone who comes in contact with your brand should receive the APPROPRIATE impression and message – this can differ in order to communicate effectively to a specific audience. We’ll take a look at how a few commonly overlooked positions within a company can be great assets to your brand.
Director of First Impressions
Through technology and convenience, automated phone systems have been put in place. Due to economic hardships, staff has been down-sized. Yet the role of receptionist remains necessary. A customer or prospect has to come in contact with SOMEONE at your company initially – whether it’s over the phone or in person. Is that person representing your brand correctly?
Think about it. Does the person (or people) handling reception have the necessary information about your brand to deliver it correctly? Is their personality and demeanor representative of your brand attributes as well? If you’re selling energy drinks, you wouldn’t want your receptionist to be better suited to play a patient in an anti-depressant commercial. Attitude, tonality, posture, hospitality, etc. all come into play when a person comes through your front door or calls the front desk.
I’m not trying to say who should be hired for your receptionist position. My point is that the person in this role can be a huge asset to your brand as a first impression if you leverage it properly and arm them with the appropriate and adequate information and messaging.
Liaison to External Resources
How many different people come in the back door of your company for shipping and deliveries? From the overnight shipping person to suppliers and venders, stop to count them in a day’s or week’s time. Inevitably, those people are interacting with other people and companies who might need your products and services. Is the mailroom staff capable of communicating your brand attributes to your suppliers and vendors?
Often times, the mailroom staff has a personal connection with the people they interact with regularly – in essence, a relationship. A brand is the relationship you have with your customers and prospects. So, by informing your mailroom staff with the appropriate information about your brand, products and services, you’re helping them to extend your brand to your suppliers and vendors. Potentially, helping keep you top-of-mind with them should an opportunity arise.
Department of Internal Morale
Whether your HR department consists of one person or an entire staff, it should be looked upon as your brand amplifier. Communication, attitude, delivery, etc. are all funneled through the HR department to the rest of the company.
It seems all to often, HR is left on their own to communicate to employees. Internal communication might be at the mercy of someone who is deemed the expert in Microsoft Word, OR it’s left on the back burner of the in-house marketing department behind client work. But how do the materials and correspondence look compared to your external communication? I’m not saying HR should be producing four-color, glossy brochures, but if it’s not upholding the brand standards, there is a breakdown in the consistency. What example does that send to employees about the overall brand of your company? This is where our favorite saying, “a brand is built from the top down, and the inside out” comes into play. If brand communication is not delivered consistently and at an appropriate level of sophistication from the decision-makers and brand champions throughout the organization, chances are your brand message and image is being compromised as it reaches the outside world.
How tech-savvy is your company? Is communication delivered via an intranet? Are you using that intranet to it’s full potential? Smaller companies don’t necessarily need an intranet, that’s true. It’s just as easy to communicate at the lunch table or across the hall. However, for companies of a larger size and/or with multiple offices, an intranet can play a huge role for internal brand and morale building – not to mention efficiency and consistency for internal communications.
CBO (Chief Brand Officer)
As a company owner, president, department head or brand champion, part of effective leadership is rallying the troops around initiatives and the brand itself. By arming them with the proper information, messages and consistency, they too, can become brand champions to their respective external points of contact. Sometimes we are too close to see potential opportunities within our own organization. Step out of your shoes, take an outsider’s perspective at your company, and try to identify some new brand-related titles for members of your team. When your staff is on-brand, the communication to external touchpoints should come fluently and naturally – making it genuine and more effective.
The underlying point to this is to provide yet another cost-effective way to increase brand awareness for your organization. Through our years of expertise, Acceler8 Creative can help you find new, efficient and effective ways to tell your story and communicate your brand to your customers and prospects.
Visit Acceler8 Creative’s website.
Aligned and consistent messaging is a key component to having a healthy brand. Messaging helps you more easily reach the four essential attributes needed for a strong brand – clarity, distinction, trust and impact. Let’s first define a brand and then discuss how messaging helps all aspects of your business from there.
What is a brand?
The term “brand” has been overused (and abused) to some level of discredit. Everyone claims they do branding. But your brand is more than a logo, web site, brochure, or other tactical outlet, and even more than all of them combined. It’s one of the most intangible assets your company possesses – yet one of the most important. Essentially, your brand is defined as the relationship between your organization and its customers and stakeholders.
What is messaging?
Messaging is a concise and consistent voice delivered through every channel of communication and stakeholder group – from the c-suite to the mailroom to all external groups. Proper messaging helps strengthen your brand by:
- Focusing and unifying the voice of your brand for better business results
- Bridging the gaps between strategy and marketing communication execution – saving time and money
- Promoting consistent delivery through every communication channel and stakeholder group
- Speeding up time-to-market, cutting marketing costs, and increasing overall marketing ROI through a “pre-approved” messaging platform deployed in all sales, marketing and communications
Acceler8 Creative can help you discover, define and align the proper goals and assets of your company to formulate your messaging platform – providing a single-page, to define and differentiate your company.
What can a Message Map do?
When your Message Map is complete, you can more effectively:
- Align vision and mission with customer behaviors
- Break through competitive clutter with the power of focused differeniation
- Consistently set customer expectations and satisfaction by aligning brand promise and delivery
- Provide strategic guidance and efficiency to all company communication functions
Who can benefit from messaging?
Everyone really. But its those who realize the value and necessity of consistent messaging who can gain the upper-hand. Examples of organizations that should consider Message Mapping are those:
- Comprised of multiple company divisions or recent acquisitions
- Outsourcing marketing and communication services
- Facing increased competition
- Providing increasingly commoditized products or services
Contact Acceler8 Creative today for a demonstration and more detail about Message Mapping, and how it can become a powerful tool in your brand arsenal.
Visit Acceler8 Creative’s web site.
Become a fan of Acceler8 Creative
|Web gadgets on building an effective and succ…|
|John Loebel on Distinction with a capital…|
|Greg Niedbala on does your brand have a ti…|
|Jan Long on does your brand have a ti…|
|Heidi on is print dead?|
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
- 2,273 hits