Is Your Company’s Brand Selling You Short?
Your company’s most valuable asset is your brand. When someone says “apple” nowadays, most people’s first thought is of an iPod instead of the fruit. This is the power that branding can have. Now of course Apple Inc. is one of the largest and most recognizable brands on the plant, and you’re thinking, “Well good for them, but my company makes rubber gaskets or provides IT service—we’ll never be a household name.” But no matter if your company is big or small, consumer or B2B, the same strategies used by the mega brands like Apple can help improve your brand.
To start off, when was the last time your company worked on branding? How does an outside observer with no prior connection to your brand view it? You may have steady work and loyal customers now, but inevitably situations change and maybe some of your corporate buyers wind up retiring or leaving their company. Is your branding a current reflection of your worth to new customers?
To have a strong brand identity, all materials and customer touchpoints must be consistent—from your website to your sales materials. We see many companies that have completely different materials for sales, HR, public relations, etc. Certainly, messages should be tailored to different audiences, but a consistent overall image, with a coherent look and feel, should be carried throughout the company. Just because the director of HR likes the font Garamond and the color purple doesn’t mean recruiting materials should look like they come from a different company! Your brand image should be instantly recognizable to your target audience and communicated well within your organization.
We often recommend creating a branding guide to standardize everything from logo usage to email signatures. It may be tempting to use up existing collateral materials simply because your shelves are filled with boxes of old stationery or brochures, but no amount of “savings” is worth the price of defeating your brand. B2B companies with brands that are perceived as strong generate a higher EBIT margin than others. Strong brands can outperform weak brands by as much as 20% and a robust brand images are able to:
- command higher prices
- withstand economic downturns and adversity
- improve the return on marketing and advertising investments
- and partially shield a product or company from adverse publicity