Simply put, your brand is defined by a customer’s overall perception of your business. The goal of your branding process is to build brand equity for the company. Brand equity is the set of assets linked to your brand’s name, and the symbols that add to the value of services. Brand equity is an intangible asset that creates a true company equity value many multiples greater than tangible assets or revenue streams. For successful companies, brand equity is the most valuable asset they own and yet it does not live on our balance sheet.
It is what people see and understand about your company. In many ways, brand equity is similar to a person’s image, reputation, and what they stand for. It is built by supporting your brand strategy over time, with employees working together as ambassadors of the brand. Successful brands have a long-term commitment and willingness to invest in understanding customer behavior, perceptions, and needs, as well as market trends, pressures, and attitudes. This requires a conscious effort to manage all aspects of the brand through all your communications and activities.
To achieve this, part of your branding process should be the development, implementation and management of your Brand Plan. Individuals in all parts of your organization can help enforce your image by following the guidelines outlined in a Brand Plan. When creating documents such as reports, proposals, letters, training materials, forms, presentations, etc., be sure to use the elements and follow the guidelines provided in Brand styles. This will ensure that the audience (whether internal or external) immediately recognizes
Of equal importance is the image that you project to your clients through attitude in every interaction. How well did you communicate? How well does your deliverables, products, or services meet your standard of quality? What image does your behavior project? These are all questions to consider in all of your communications about, and on the behalf of your organization – internally and externally.
We have found that the following outline serves well as the basis of a brand management plan. These may seem simple but truly requires some honest evaluation by your stakeholders, especially your employees and customers/clients.
Perceived quality is the heart of what clients are buying. It directly links to the clients’ reason to buy and price sensitivity. Whether the brand is a price brand or a prestige brand, perceived quality is often one of the key differentiators.
Brand loyalty is the measure of commitment a client has to the brand. It is much less expensive to retain customers than to attract new ones, so companies must find a balance in their branding efforts that build awareness and loyalty in parallel.
Brand awareness measures client perception and attitude towards a brand. Studies show that when a purchasing decision is made, familiar brands will have the edge.