Branding Best Practices

How to Surge Brand Value

Highlights

  • Your corporate brand is the customers perception of your company and products.
  • Branding is all about shaping customer perception. It works because human perceptions are malleable. Neuroscience clearly shows that our brains prefer meaning and association. We want things to make sense. We want to compare things in relation to other things.
  • Branding best practices share lessons that save time, reduce risk and improve results. They show what actions deliver results and which don't. That helps prioritize what to do and is equally helpful in determining what not to do.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

Branding Best Practices

There is no one way to create an effective and profitable company identity. But there are branding best practices that share valuable lessons of what works, what doesn't and how to maximize your results. Here are some of those lessons.

1

Start with a Business Case

If you have never invested in a brand and are unsure if the investment is worthwhile, start with a brand building business case. You can use research to acquire data and insights. For example, research findings published in the Marketing Transformation Report found that while most marketers did not invest in brand management, those that did achieved some impressive results.

The research revealed that B2B brand marketers delivered 18 percent more leads to the salesforce, 21 percent higher contribution to the sales pipeline, and 21 percent higher marketing ROI than marketers without similar programs.

Brand Impact to Leads, Pipeline and ROI

B2C brand marketers achieved 4 percent higher year over year revenue growth and 21 percent higher marketing ROI.

B2C Brand Impact to Revenue Growth

Brand building requires discipline and investment, and it's not easy. But when done correctly it delivers significant and sustained financial outcomes.

2

Strategy Fuels Success

There's consensus that the most successful brands start with strategy. But when it comes to the strategy itself the debates begin.

At one end of the spectrum, strategy is little more than identity attributes. Things like logo, tagline, images and fonts. These things can aid an identity but don't deliver business outcomes.

At the other end is strategy designed to create brand equity. This value is well and good but it's a lagging indicator. You really don't create brand equity; you create an identity that delivers improved financial results and that culminates in equity.

The best strategy approach falls in the middle. It designs an identity to create differentiation and deliver payback in the forms of reaching more prospects, converting more customers and growing revenues. Strategies that focus on how the brand can appeal to customers and differentiate from competitors will deliver the most significant and sustained value.

3

Apply Customer Intelligence

Your brand is only as effective as your customer intelligence. Trying to be everything to everyone is a prescription to be insignificant to most. Good brands are authentic, customer-centric, values-driven and purpose-led. But to strike an emotional chord with like-minded customers you need to really know what values and purposes drive their purchase decisions.

To deliver brand messaging that is relevant and personalized start by identifying your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Then harvest buyer insights and transform those insights into target market or persona-based messaging.

Only then can you consistently deliver the right offer, idea, content or other communication that resonates with the customer you are trying to win.

When you design and grow a relevant brand you make the competition irrelevant.

7 Branding Best Practices
4

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, defined brand value as "the intangible sum of a product's attributes." That may be true, but for branding to be sustainable those attributes must be measurable, compared to alternatives and show a compelling ROI.

Some brands are measured. Most are not. Instead of calculating value based on the financial gains directly attributed from the brand, most valuations are indirect measurements with very loosely defined attribution.

Inferred valuations usually come to a head during the annual budget process. At some point the CFO, CEO or another C-suite executive begins to question the investments for brand building and advertising. They then question whether the brand value is accurate or an unsupported accumulation of questionable assumptions. To do better, use a brand measurement framework and focus on the most important brand metrics that directly correlate to financial results. Also, use a recognized brand valuation method to demonstrate an objective value.

5

Closed Loop Information Reporting

As a continuation of the former branding best practice, all brand investments should demonstrate the same measurability to revenues and profits as any other marketing or business development program. That generally requires a closed loop reporting system that links activities to financial outcomes.

Brands are only valuable to the extent they deliver financial gains. Fortunately, reporting can show how even small improvements to these programs drive significant financial impact to the company. Below is an example that illustrates how activities can lead to company financial impact.

Brand Impact Predictive Pyramid
6

Appeal to Emotions

No list of branding best practices would be complete without referencing customer behaviors.

Brands built on authenticity and transparency can create an emotional connection. Sometimes it's just a matter of telling your story. Going back to your roots, sharing customer stories or even being candid about difficult times can trigger customer emotions.

Analyst firm Forrester shared research that found about 50 percent of a brand's energy comes from its emotional resonance with customers. But before you can appeal to customer emotions, you have to know which emotions will most drive performance. It's not enough to conjure up any emotion. You have to be able to transfer emotions toward a prescriptive action.

7

Consistency Counts Big

Finally, nothing will degrade your corporate identity faster than inconsistent use or messaging. Company staff are the stewards of your identity. They must be trained and periodically refreshed on brand value and messaging.

All customer facing channels including the website, social networks, marketing collaterals and sales documents must be in sync. A brand guidelines document can help. Consistent brands are three times more likely to improve company visibility.

See the 7 branding best practices that drive increased market reach, customer engagement and company revenue growth.

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