From marketing to human resources, a strong brand will benefit your entire organization. Whether to support a new strategic brand building project or to reinforce the importance of ongoing upstream marketing initiatives, below is a comprehensive list of organizational benefits generated by a strong brand.
- Create differentiation: A strong brand can help differentiate your products or services in a crowded marketplace. Actual and perceived product differences can be amplified using a coordinated brand strategy.
- Allow for premium pricing: A strong brand minimizes risk of commoditization by generating an emotional effect around a product or service, allowing for improved pricing power.
- Insulation from product flaws: Products and services with perceived deficiencies can be insulated by strong brand equity. Strong brands create emotional connections with consumers, leading to increased loyalty. As an added benefit, strong consumer loyalty often gives organizations additional time to add new features to products and services.
- Provide credibility to new product introductions: Companies with strong brands can leverage equity to create new products or services in vertical and horizontal expansions. The visceral and functional connection customers have with one product can be used to create demand for new products.
Human Resources and Productivity
- Attract and retain the best employees: Employees increasingly want to work for a company that is associated with a strong brand. Millennials, for example, tend to favor brands with a purpose. In the LinkedIn era, employment history is not just a line on a resume, but a continuous badge on display. Research has shown that strong employer brands can also lead to increased retention and advocacy.
- Facilitate teamwork and decision making: A strong brand can provide a foundation for operations. The brand becomes a common thread for decision making, which can yield improved morale and ROI.
- Stronger corporate development and partnerships: Marketing, distribution and operational strategic partnerships can be a powerful competitive advantage. Any leverage your organization can wield in developing these partnerships is important. A strong brand can help you cut through the corporate development noise and move you to the head of the line.
- Ready the company for growth, expansion or divestiture: Brand equity is a key factor for corporate M&A decision making. An acquiring company with strong brands can add value to new portfolio products, raising the return on M&A activities. Conversely, acquired companies may fetch a higher price due to intangible value of brand assets.
PR & Social Media
- Attract and retain influencers: Influencer marketing spend, hovering around $2 Billion in 2017, is set to reach $10 billion by 2020. As spend increases, demand for influencer services increases. Significant competition exists between brands to attract and maintain relationships with key influencers. A strong, meaningful brand can help recruit influencers who are also interested in borrowing equity from your brand.
- Insulation from negative messaging: Social media has increased the risks of the effects of negative messaging on brand equity. The power of even one viral tweet – whether from a disgruntled customer or from a brand’s own communications – can be tremendous. Brands that have a strong connection with consumers are more likely to withstand disruptive messaging.
- Insulation from marketing noise: Marketing noise can originate from internal and external sources. For example, internally, an organization may be disseminating communications on a wide range of topics, diluting key messaging. Externally, partners or social media may be generating contradictory messaging. A strong brand, by definition, can create a summarizing benefit for consumers, despite diverse communications.
- Strengthen financial performance: Studies show that strong brand equity has a positive effect on actual/perceived valuation and financial performance. For example, Milward Brown estimates that the top 100 brands represent approximately $4.4 Trillion in valuation. A 2004 survey of executives of the world’s leading global companies showed “that corporate brand or reputation represents more than 40% of a company’s market capitalization”. Yet another study showed that a strong brand “tended to act like a cushion, sheltering companies from the worst effects of the economic crisis with shareholders valuing the potential of brands to reduce cash flow vulnerability”.
- Increase return on marketing dollars: Strong brand equity has been linked to increased customer lifetime value (CLV). A higher CLV by defintition will translate to increased marketing ROI.
- Send a positive message to shareholders and stakeholders: Shareholders and other various stakeholders are customers too. A strong brand grounds investors and stakeholders in why they have invested in your company.
A strong brand has far-reaching effects of significant magnitude throughout an organization. For over 15 years, EquiBrand Consulting has been helping clients grow stronger brands and businesses. Please contact us to learn more.