“Products are created in the factory. Brands are created in the mind.” —Walter Landor, Founder Landor Associates
Since the beginning of time, the need to communicate has manifested itself. From the cave paintings at Lascaux to the digital messages that are online today, man has created visual symbols to represent who he is.
In today’s competitive global marketplace, brands have come to represent the intangible aspects of a company. A brand is everything a company says and does, and how they say and do it. A company’s logo is the imaging of its brand, and essentially the point of entry to its brand. Image and perception drive value. Without an image to represent you, there is no perception.
Recently, a company’s brand has become more important due to the proliferation of products in the marketplace. Brand recognition has become critical. Brands help consumers quickly cut through all the choices that are available.
Ultimately, your brand becomes a symbol of your corporate promises and is represented by a logo. The reason for this is that a symbol is:
- Faster to recognize than words
- More memorable than words
- Works in any language
Brand = Reputation
A brand is about your company’s reputation and making a promise to your customer—being consistent and predictable and building long-term corporate value. It’s the source of a promise to the consumer.
Your brand promise should:
- Address important consumer need
- Leverage your organization’s strengths
- Give competitive advantage
- Drive every organization decision, system, action, and process
- Inspire, energize, and mobilize your people
- Manifest itself in your products and services
Five Steps to a Strong Brand
- Articulate your brand identity. A clear brand identity sets expectations across your organization for your products and services.
- Establish a customer value proposition. Each department in your company needs to understand what that proposition is and the key role they play in delivering it.
- Define the optimal customer experience. Create a consistent and compelling experience at each of the touch points where your customer interacts with your company. Try and look at it from the customer’s perspective rather than your internal view.
- Cultivate relationships with customers. Listen attentively to what they are telling you, learn from it and respond.
- Strengthen your brand over time. Always be on the lookout for ways that you can enhance your brand-customer relationship.
Top 10 Traits of the World’s Strongest Brands
- The brand excels at delivering the benefits customers truly desire
- The brand stays relevant
- The pricing strategy is based on consumer’s perceptions of value
- The brand is properly positioned
- The brand is consistent
- The brand portfolio and hierarchy make sense
- The brand makes use of a coordinated repertoire of marketing activities
- The brand managers understand what the brand means to consumers
- The brand is given proper support that is sustained over the long run
- The company monitors sources of brand equity
Ultimately, the power of a brand lies in minds of customers, in what they have experienced and learned about the brand over time. Consumer knowledge is at the heart of your company’s brand equity.