Apparently, UK leaders are significantly less confident that they have the corporate image and brand reputation to achieve their objectives – this is according to new research from the Worldcom Confidence Index – a new global study exploring key issues that impact the confidence levels of business leaders. In fact, they are only half as confident as US companies in their ability to protect their brand in a crisis.
But why is brand so important? Last month, in an open letter to CMOs, Tom Roach, Managing Partner at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, described a strong brand as “a business’s most valuable commercial asset. It increases the chances of customers choosing your product or service over your competitors, retaining and attracting more customers. A strong brand will deliver more revenue, profit and growth, more efficiently, year after year, and so generate more shareholder value. It can help attract, motivate and retain your second most important asset: your people. And it can work as a barrier to entry for future competitors, creating a legal ‘monopoly’.”
Despite this, many business leaders continue to regard creating a brand as an unnecessary luxury. But brand strategy should be regarded as an up-front, long-term investment that will pay off over the lifetime of a company. Having a strong brand helps give a company credibility, attracts and retains top staff, and is one of the assets that come into play during the sale or acquisition. Little surprise then that Steve Forbes, American Publishing Executive, is quoted as saying: “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business”.
So, what should you consider when building your brand?
Find your story
Every business has a story to tell, and telling it, and the missions and values you want your brand to align with, is the first step to creating a brand identity. Once you’ve established your story, you can create associated brand guidelines for your website, logo and all communications. It’s vital to bring your story to life in the most authentic way, so that it resonates with your target audience. How people perceive your company is perhaps the most significant factor in whether they do business with you: 64% of people start a relationship with a business due to shared values.
Keep it simple
People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with, so if your branding is and easy to recognise, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services. Similarly, you’re likely to get more publicity when people can immediately understand your business, what it does and what it values.
Consistency across all platforms builds credibility and trust. As the face of your company, your brand should be reflected in everything you do and say, and with every interaction with your customers. This includes all communications, from social, media and marketing content through to sales materials. A brand that is consistent puts the customer at ease because they know exactly what to expect each time they engage with it; it also creates higher impact.
In addition, your brand’s story and values can be key factors in why people decide to trust you. According to a study, 94% of consumers claim that they’re likely to show loyalty to brands offering total transparency. Demonstrating a strong track record of success provides evidence of your expertise. This also comes into play during a crisis, where the values associated with your brand can help retain a loyal following, providing it is handled transparently and honestly.
A strong brand identity should evolve with your business. Keeping it fresh helps your business continue to be relevant to your customers. Having a voice on new trends and revealing how you are preparing for a new era and repositioning your brand with new innovations is both compelling and reassuring.
If UK leaders are going to be successful they need to be confident that they have the right corporate image and brand reputation in order to prosper. We’d firmly believe it’s never too late to make branding a part of your business strategy and use it to drive future growth and cement your position in the market.
To find out more about our brand development work – please get in touch: [email protected] or call us on 07974 161127 – we’d love to help.