Your company’s product or service can be valued according to the tangible cost it takes to produce or hours spent on providing it. It may be very similar or even identical to other products and services. Of course, you can add value with your customer service or with specific product features that differentiate it from others.
But there is another, intangible asset, that can add even more value to your product or service. A consumer’s perception of your product or service can add significant value to the price you are able to attract. Of course, it can also be a negative perception, in which case you may fall into a negative brand equity that reduces the value of your product or service and the price you can attach to it.
Brand equity is all about how consumers perceive your brand values, what it means to them and how positively disposed they are to it. It lies more in the realm of cognitive psychology. Advertising professionals study consumer behaviour in-depth.
If you are considering launching a new brand or if you feel your existing brand isn’t attracting a premium, the first step is to create a brand strategy that defines the intangible values that the product or service provides.
What kind of personality would potential consumers be attracted to? Why? What emotional role does it fulfill in their life? Know who your potential customers are as people, what they value and what is meaningful to them. Find out, ask them. Do your research. This is the golden rule for business brand building.
Without this understanding, and without extensive research, your business brand may simply be the result of a design trend that a young graphic design student chose at a particular point in their day or an inexperienced copywriter tapping into the general style they think is cool. It may last for a few months, before the wind changes. It may appeal to a particular audience who may or may not be potential customers for your particular product or service. It may be a short-term fad or fashion trend that disappears as quickly as it arrived as people mature and move on.
Be aware that many modern marketing companies skip this vital step. Marketing is the next step after a brand strategy has been created and the brand identity defined. The marketing strategy is quantitative and involves numbers and reach. But that isn’t a brand strategy, which is a qualitative exercise, and it will determine what and how you are marketing.
They are two different disciplines, which is why advertising agencies create brands, while marketing agencies take those brands to market. Some can do both, but must have the relevant knowledge and depth of experience. Think carefully before spending your money on marketing efforts that will spread and create brand recognition. Will it create long-term brand equity or is it an opportunistic, short-term effort?