You could probably write a whole book on the subject of brands. But as it's a Friday afternoon, I thought I'd keep this short and sweet.
"Brand" means different things to different people. To many, it's all about logos, colours and typefaces. For others it's about reputation.
But a great brand is much more than that. After all, how many established market leaders do you know, that don't have a strong sense of their own identity. Something that people can relate to, and that they will choose to interact with (and buy from) almost regardless of the product?
Brand: in a nutshell
Here's our guide to what 'brand' means in 2015. This is as relevant for small, growing businesses, as it is for established brands:
- Branding can most simply be described as "the relationships that account for a customer's decision to choose one product or service over another"
- When a brand is strong and respected, it provides protection for the business during an economic downturn. This can blunt the effect of any crisis, because of the goodwill the company has in reserve
- A brand gives people an emotional reason to connect with a company. This leads to them considering new product innovations or offers in a positive light, even when these were not previously in their consideration set
- Having a strong brand allows a business to be valued as more than the sum of its parts. This protects the business if a key person or asset is removed from the equation (such as in a professional services firm, particularly in the legal sector, where business is often generated on the basis of an individual's reputation rather than that of the business)
- A strong brand allows businesses to "scale" - to become presold beyond their own direct network, and to enter new and previously untapped markets. A strong brand means that when the company moves into new products or markets, it carries customers with it
- Businesses with a strong brand can charge a premium for products and services. Apple provides an extraordinary example of how to do this, with little or no resistance from the market
- A strong brand has a tangible value on a balance sheet, attractive to investors and VCs. This can be rather handy when you need to raise funds to support growth, or fancy retiring to the sun.