‘A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.’
– Seth Godin
Whether we admit it or not, we have a tendency to value certain brands higher than others, sometimes to an extent that we will gladly pay several times the cost of a standard product or service for a brand that is perceived as premium. It is this intangible value that defines what a brand is truly worth when stripped bare of its functional or tangible value – figures that are easily measurable. Brand value in Marketing is all about arriving at the ‘intangible worth’ of a brand – that golden number that gives a brand an edge over its plain-Jane alternatives.
Brand Values that Draw Customers
Brand value is a metric that reveals more about your business than just its monetary worth. It is that quality which brings you your customers. Business owners who haven’t yet put much thought to their brand’s personality, must sit up and take notice of something. End users often relate to your product or service as they would to a living, breathing human being with a distinct personality. We all know that most purchases are an effect of emotions over practical needs. But do you ever pay attention to the emotions your brand evokes in its customers or potential buyers?
Over time, the attributes of your brand will come to define it more than the physical elements you employ to set it apart, such as the logo, brand colours, templates, tones and fonts. If you haven’t already, start working on brand identity. Jot down what it stands for, what it means to consumers, and what it aspires to be. Do you offer something unique that no one else does? What sets you apart from the competition? What is it that delights your clients?
Have a set of values that you are willing to stick to and enforce across the organization, because a brand is only as strong as its internal stakeholders are. When you have brand values that are consistently seen in your employees, product or service and work culture, you will have customers that always come back for more. You may not have the entire village rooting for you, but you will have a targeted audience, a loyal tribe that wants to stick with you.
As a business leader accountable for both the brand image and the interests of shareholders, you might sometimes struggle to explain what the brand really brings to the table, if anything at all. After you have a nicely drawn out brand manifesto that outlines its core values, you must begin to assess brand awareness. Market surveys and a careful study of conversations about your brand on social media will reveal not just the extent of brand penetration but also brand perception. Pay close attention to what people are saying about the brand.
Do you spot organic recommendations? That is what brand loyalty looks like! Use social networks to spark conversations about issues that tie in with your brand identity. The internet has frankly made it a child’s play to make your brand voice heard. If you are not leveraging social media, you are really losing out. If you operate in a niche, find your niche audience to promote your services to, and reap the benefits of shared values in the form of customer loyalty and increased sales.
There is a clear relationship between brand value in marketing, customer loyalty and their willingness to pay for the privilege of having your brand. To borrow an example from luxury retail, a Louis Vuitton bag commands its premium because of its endeavour to provide only the finest materials, timeless designs and detailed customizations to its customers. LV customers are conspicuous for their brand loyalty, and they never mind paying extra for their purchases.
Many thought leaders in Marketing tend to use the terms ‘brand equity’ and ‘brand value’ interchangeably. However, there is a fine line that separates the two. Brand equity is essentially the eventual result of brand value. Think of brand value as the character of your product or service. Character in itself is intangible, on which you can’t put a number to measure its worth. However, it is this intrinsic trait that determines the tangible value of a brand by way of its sales projections or realized turnovers.
Brand equity aims to capture the worth of the brand through certain soft parameters which are often not quantifiable. The quality of the product or service plays an important role in contributing to its brand equity. But it is brand loyalty that is the game-changer. And loyalty often comes through continued brand associations and brand awareness initiatives.
Today, the importance of brand value in Marketing is more prominent than ever, thanks to a cluttered marketplace (both online and offline) where brands are often seen jostling for the attention of the customer. This scenario will only grow more crowded as more businesses crop up and eye the same slice of the customer pie. The only factor that will separate the successful brands from the struggling ones is their seriousness over brand value. Brand equity is often a result of well emphasized values, relevant associations and dedicated awareness efforts leading to lasting loyalty.
To summarize, define the values of your brand to appeal to your customers’ emotions, and drive these values across the business with conviction. Regularly sample the mood of the customer and use social media to keep them engaged on the brand values. Watch your value system lead to higher levels of customer loyalty and in turn, better sales. A brand with a strong value and a loyal following of consumers will eventually be able to charge a premium that others can’t. It is these elements that separate iconic brands such as Apple, IBM and Tesla from their counterparts.