Business Insights

Business Insights

Why Size Doesn't Matter When It Comes To Brand Value

Do you think your business is too small to invest in your brand? You may not have the global reach of Starbucks or McDonalds, the marketing budget of Coca-Cola, or the revenues of Apple Inc. But even the major players started small, and the principles they embraced at the start of their lifecycles apply to even the most micro and niche businesses. The major challenge for any big brand with such a high profile is competition. And it is the investment that they make in their brands that enables them to protect their position in the market.A brand’s value is ultimately defined by how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose any one brand over the alternatives. A good brand is perceived to offer something better than its competitors, as opposed to being a commodity that can be sourced from anywhere.

Not just for big players

Nurturing your brand will help differentiate you from the competition, bringing awareness, recognition, loyalty and ultimately advocacy. Your brand allows you to compete on something other than price, which can always be eroded in wars that squeeze margins. Nobody else can offer exactly the same as you because your brand is different. The key to building a competitive brand is consistency. Once you have defined your brand, you must pay attention to keeping its promise to your customers.

Stand by your brand

It is worth spending some time thinking about your brand. Whether it’s the name of your company or the product you sell, it is important to define the values at the core of your product or service. What do you stand for? Is it quality? Speed? Personal service? It might help to define your brand as an individual, visualise what type of person they are, and how they might behave. This extends to all your communications, including their tone of voice, which should complement your brand’s personality.

Behave yourself

Once you have defined your brand, ask yourself how your business lives up to its promises. Are you fulfilling orders efficiently, meeting timescales and delivering on quality? Does your service match up to expectations? Examine the behaviour of your organisation and check that what you do matches what you say about yourself. Brands must authentic and sincere, or they will be exposed. What happens behind closed doors inside your organisation must stand up to the scrutiny of the outside world. Involve your employees and treat them with respect, and they will naturally be inclined to act as ambassadors giving your brand even greater reach.

Take no risks

Brands that are successful can become complacent and take their value for granted. But brands are fragile entities and can be damaged very easily if care is not taken.

In September 2015 Volkswagen was accused of cheating on emissions tests in the US by installing ‘defeat devices’ on its vehicles. Previously a highly trusted brand within the auto sector, the company’s score fell sharply on the YouGov BrandIndex UK and public willingness to buy a VW car fell by 28 per cent within six months. Authenticity is critical in branding and devious behaviour will always be damaging if exposed.

Keen to keep its style contemporary and relevant, clothing retail giant, Gap launched a new logo in 2010 at a cost of $100M. A storm blew up when the retailer proposed to change its familiar, iconic lettering for something much more generic and less distinctive. The new logo, launched without explanation or fanfare, met with such a backlash that Gap reverted to the original within just one week.

Gerald Ratner wiped £500M off the value of his jewellery company in 1991, causing its near collapse by denigrating his products as part of a speech to the Institute of Directors. He mistakenly thought that he was talking privately to a like-minded audience but had not reckoned with the presence of a journalist at the event who exposed his arrogance in the national media.

Proceed with caution

It takes time to build a brand and form a reputation based on the delivery of its promises. Brands can add significant value to revenues and contribute to the longevity and success of your business. If you invest time and take care to protect your brand, it will deliver rewards for many years to come.

Tom Hings

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