Benefits of a Strong Brand
Strong brands are intangible assets that grow in value over time with continued investment. Once established, brands provide businesses with sustainable competitive advantage by:
- Making sales and marketing investments work harder and more efficiently
- Easing entry to new markets
- Providing resilience in times of crisis
Strong brands have also been shown to have value beyond customers, as they:
- Afford leverage with partners and suppliers
- Generate measurable impact on the value of the business to investors
- Increase success in attracting and retaining talent
Strong brands don’t happen by accident, they require careful planning, nurturing and investment. A brand platform provides a solid foundation for planning brand investments. The Vision serves as the North Star, and Positionings are the tools that move the brand toward its Vision. As the chart below shows, the goal is for equity in the brand asset to grow over time as the brand moves from its current position toward its Vision.
A Solid Foundation for Brand Development
Together, Vision and Positioning provide a complete brand platform that serves as a roadmap for brand development over time. Each element plays a role and should be revisited periodically, with Positioning revisited most frequently, at least annually.
Brand Vision is enduring and multifaceted. It articulates how marketers would like customers and other stakeholders to view the brand in the foreseeable future. Our Brand Vision model is a six-sided prism. Elements on the left side of the prism is internally focused, while those on the right side explains how the brand connects externally, with customers, members, investors and other stakeholders.
Each element of the Vision provides crucial guidance to developing the brand’s message, visual and verbal identity, tone and way of interacting, and more. Unlike many other models, ours includes culture as a key aspect of the brand. It also expresses the brand’s Noble Purpose, its reason for existence beyond staying in business and paying employees. Purpose is increasingly an essential aspect of brand differentiation.
Positioning is a short-term tool for achieving the Vision, and should be evaluated periodically for relevance, credibility and uniqueness. A classic positioning has four parts: Target Audience, Key Benefit, and Reasons to Believe. Positioning is specific to a target audience, which can be customers or internal stakeholders such as employees and investors. If more than one target audience is important, multiple positionings may be required.
Putting It All Together
Our experience with these models is that they are flexible and relevant to B2C and B2B companies as well as to non-profit organizations. We have used them successfully with clients ranging from grocery products to high tech services. When combined with clear business objectives, a careful brand audit, and a profound understanding of the target, these tools provide a powerful guide for brand development.
Learn more by downloading our toolkit Brand-Strategy-Toolkit-July-2017.pdf6.1 MB