Is your brand the iceberg, or the titanic?

A lot has been written about brand value, and I would have thought that anyone in business these days would probably accept the common wisdom that it’s a very real phenomenon. For me, that argument has been won game, set and match, so why do so many companies (often large ones that should know better) underplay or ignore their own brand value by presenting themselves so poorly in their digital and printed media? The answer is this…

It’s easy to understand the brand value in an expensive watch like a Rolex, or a car like Aston Martin, or even a football team (except England of course!). But these are sexy products that have been transformed into time honoured legends by a willing audience of salivating consumers who make it easy to establish a brand’s value. The same rules don’t apply for a small or medium sized business selling a service, or fruit and veg… do they?

The best financial advice you ever had.

I was hugely struck by a piece of financial advice I received by email recently – and if financial advice is ever independent, this, I thought, was it. It asked what made a good business to invest in – and it pointed specifically to “…a business with a recognisable brand”.

It went on to say…

…Businesses like Tesco, Lloyds Bank, Vodafone and Shell may not be universally popular, but everyone knows what they do and where to find them…Full article here.

The point is that household names like Innocent Smoothies or Boots Chemists don’t sell Rolex watches or Aston Martins, but brand value matters just as much to them because they know it’s what people have to see and like in order to go on to buy from them rather than from their competitors.

So I believe the same rules do apply for a medium or small sized business selling a service or fruit and veg, or even for an individual. People simply don’t buy from companies, individuals or brands they don’t like – or don’t believe in.

Sink or float!

For thirty years TAG has worked with local, national and international business and product brands to create effective communication within their respective markets and – most importantly, to make them memorable. Get it right, and you can help turn a company of 6 people into 100… and a company of a hundred into a stock market floatation as we did with a regional Civil Engineering company who went on to be bought out by an industry giant.

Another example is Scotsdales garden centre. Back in the early naughties, they were experiencing exponential competition from the DIY chains like B&Q and the multiples like Tesco. We developed their now high-profile sunflower brand which reflects all the energy and goodness that a garden brings. Over the next three or four years we worked closely with them to implement it with ruthless discipline and vigour.

Some time later their Managing Director showed me a letter from a customer that concluded by saying “…so every time I see a sunflower now, I always think of Scotsdales”. Reading that was the moment that MD became a true believer in the value of her brand and ever since, the sunflower has helped to establish Scotsdales as the largest independent Garden Centre in the UK. We’re proud to say that we’re still working closely with Scotsdales today as the business continues to expand.

You can only achieve brand value when you believe in the value of your own brand. The fact of the matter is that for many companies, they just don’t, which is why they present themselves so poorly in digital and printed media.

An integrated approach.

Brand value is made up of lots of things including perceived value, range of offering, discipline, consumer experience, staff training and critically, tone of voice in advertising, digital and printed media.

The development of a brand which is recognised and respected will inevitably add value to your bottom line. Internally too, it’s important for staff at all levels to feel that they’re not just part of a product team or division but of a dynamically evolving whole with a well developed sense of focus and commercial direction. More than this it helps to establish and mould a desirable company culture which in turn translates into motivational, productivity and efficiency benefits.

It takes a lot of application and real focus but the importance of an integrated approach just can’t be overstated. It’s a matter of presenting an attractive and memorable brand for such purposes as attracting investment, recruiting high quality people, mounting advertising and publicity campaigns and interacting with the community at large.

For a brand to float rather than sink, it uses the value that exists largely below the water line – the mass that’s not immediately apparent or easy to quantify, but is there never-the-less, to support the badge (or the logo that sits above the waterline) that represents that brand.

Still need convincing? Speak to our clients and hear it from them. Call us and we’ll hook you up.