Many companies get less out of branding than they could or should because they are thinking of it the wrong way. For example, many simply think of branding as a name or a logo – something the marketing department does. It’s an artsy-fartsy activity, neither associated with hard business metrics nor something executive management really worries about.
Companies that make this error aren’t recognizing their most important asset. An asset, that if properly managed, will NEVER DEPRECIATE AND ONLY APPRECIATE.
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Name another company asset that is capable of that! Only a brand can.
For instance, would you rather own the bricks-and-mortar hospitals … or the Mayo Clinic brand? How about the bottling operations, formula and supply chain … or the Coca-Cola brand? The factories and patents … or the General Electric brand?
With more than 30 years of branding experience, I can confidently say the proper way to think about a brand is as – reputation. Building a reputation takes time, effort and consistency. Unfortunately, that reputation can be lost in an instant. Consider the reputation collapse of brands like Arthur Andersen, WorldCom and even the most recent fall of the brand Bill Cosby.
Once a company equates its brand(s) with its reputation, it becomes clear that branding is not just a function that marketing is involved in, but something that needs to be managed at the highest levels of the organization, as well as cascaded and reinforced throughout the entire organization. Branding relates to how the organization interacts with product/service development, customers, suppliers, competitors, employees and the media. In other words, absolutely everything the company does.
Along with thinking about branding as reputation-building and management, companies need to measure and track brand value. Accepted methods exist for putting a financial value on brands.
Only once a company measures the value of their brand(s) and manages them like reputation, are they in a position to optimize this most valuable company asset. While the marketing department is an essential resource in branding, it is up to the company’s leadership to “own” their brand(s) for maximum business success.
The brand is your most valuable asset. Treat it as such and it will only ever appreciate.