Branding goes beyond just a logo or graphic element. When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience – everything from your logo and website to experiences on social media and with your staff. When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand.
In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you. It is thus critical to be aware of your brand and what it stands for.
However, research by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has revealed that 67 per cent of marketers believe that their senior leadership teams fail to fully embed brand values throughout their organisations and relationship with customers.
It was also revealed that 77 per cent thought their senior leadership teams had a high impact on the delivery of their brand promise through customer experience, yet only half believed these same teams had a strong understanding of their role in doing so.
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Additionally, 48 per cent reported that brand performance and brand-related metrics weren’t regularly discussed at the most senior levels of their organisation.
Reflecting on these findings, Steve Woolley, head of external affairs at CIM, said: “A strong brand drives growth when customers see its promise delivered. So it’s great that marketers tell us branding is a priority for their company, but dig deeper and this looks worryingly superficial. For a company to implement branding and truly understand its value, the motivation needs to start at the top. Our report highlights that this is not always a reality. As it stands, opportunities are being lost and brand is not being utilised to its full potential.”
Arguably, one of the most commonly overlooked sources of competitive advantage is branding. And the difficulty of building and maintaining a brand is one reason why managers across the world tend to avoid spending much time or money on it –especially in smaller companies. This is a shame, because a well-managed brand is so powerful that it can overcome almost any other competitive advantage. This one fact is the reason why larger companies with lots of managerial horsepower tend to spend a lot of time and money on branding.
But it’s not only to gain an advantage over larger firms that bosses should study up on branding. According to Market Street research, numerous studies indicate that the strength of a company’s brand has direct impact on financial metrics like sales effectiveness, market share and margins.
Similarly, Lassar Mittal maintained in the 1995 study “Measuring Customer-Based Brand Equity”, that brand equity came from the customers’ confidence in a brand. The greater the confidence they place in the brand, the more likely they are willing to pay a high price for it – but in order for this to happen, leaders need to fully understand their own brands.
Working on your own brand can be incredibly difficult. That affinity you feel is a double-edged sword. So what are the common pitfalls when attempting to work on your own brand?By Shané Schutte
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