Skip to main content

To Build Brand Equity, Develop Your Team


At the end of the day a good brand continuously builds its own equity - that is, a price differential between itself and its competitors - by doing three things well. They can be summarized by the following imperatives:

1. "Choose Me": Help the customer make a decision quickly.

2. "Be Me": Provide the customer with a sense of identity.

3. "Join Us": Create a like-minded group of people rallied around a meaningful cause.

The urgency behind these "commands" flows from a brand creator and their team working together to accomplish three goals:

1. Communicating: Explicitly or implicitly setting forth a unique value proposition that has value to a specific target audience.

2. Consistently delivering: Actually providing the real (functional) and/or perceived (emotional) value they promise.

3. Continuously moving: Symbolically and actually "living," moving about in the world and representing themselves to their audience/s.

But brand teams can't read brand creators' minds. To help them deliver every single day, the brand creator must provide guidelines:

1. Purpose (Meaning)

     a. Vision: In one or two words, how do we make a positive difference in the world?

     b. Mission: In a sentence, how are we making the vision happen? 

     c. Values: What kind of people are we? Why would you want to work with and/or buy from us?

2. Approach (Style)

     a. Complexity: Highly technical, college-educated, or mass-market?

     b. Narrative: Just-the-facts, research paper, or romance novel?

     c. Data: Screenshots, photos, infographics, multimedia, or charts and tables?

3. Brand (Persona)

     a. Visual: Wordmark/logo usage, color palette, photography style, and font

     b. Spokespeople: Just the boss, senior executives, all employees, or customers?

     c. Themes: One big theme, two interlocking, or three related (no more than three)

In short, brands win by "acting spontaneously," but the spontaneity comes from an immersive approach to training. 

This doesn't mean handing out dry, stiff guidelines that take the wind out of everyone's sails.

It does mean having an ongoing conversation, one that starts with a basic set of principles.

When you're doing it right, your representatives are so fluent -- so fluid in the brand's language, culture and symbols -- that they come up with new and better representations of the brand on your behalf.

They don't ride your wave, they create their own.

And they don't even have to think twice about what they're trying to accomplish.

___
All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo by Alexey Naumov via Flickr.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

________________
All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.