A strong brand is more than a well-designed logo that opens the door to a business. The experts will tell you a brand is what your customers think, feel and say about your product and service.
No longer is it enough to use the classic definition of a brand as ‘a complex set of satisfactions delivered’.
Rather, Paul Rees-Jones, Clemenger BBDO’s planning and insights director, says brands today are something people connect with emotionally and rationally.
“The thing about emerging power brands such as Google and Apple – and NAB – is that they aren,t just great products and services, but they actually have a great story,” Rees-Jones says.
“It used to be about a ‘key message’, a ‘key positioning’, about a ‘look’ and ‘feel’, but today strong brands are also part of a conversation – to be something that’s dynamic, to be something that’s an experience and something that we actually really relate to.”
It’s the story of your business that strengthens the power of the brand.
“For smaller businesses, at a fundamental level, you have to know what your business stands for; what is its very being. It’s about defining what your customer base is,” Rees-Jones says.
“We’re in an era of strategic sacrifice. You can’t be all things to all people. For smaller businesses, you don’t have infinite resources. It’s about how you utilise not only your resources but, most importantly, your share of talent you have within your business; how you use time; to be very deliberate about who you’re targeting; what you stand for; and, just as importantly, what you don’t stand for. It’s about authenticity.”
Research by Clemenger BBDO conducted during the global financial crisis uncovered a new era of accountability. It’s now about over-delivering what you’ve under-promised.
“The whole value proposition of small business is going to change accordingly. Think about the basic value propositions of small business – is your value proposition more for more; more for the same; the same for less; less for a lot less; or more for less – the ultimate killer value proposition.
“Work out what your core value proposition is going to be because then you can fit the delivery of your brand around that,” he says.
Another key to developing a strong brand is making your business act in a certain way that’s interesting, even provocative, and make it stand out from your competitors.
“Take Apple, for example. Apple isn’t thought of now as a computer or for its music. It’s form and function, it’s fashion, it’s design, it’s functionality. It’s a whole belief system in technology that’s simple and good and enabling and empowering. That’s really the power of it,” Rees-Jones says.
For SMEs, is not about an expensive advertising and marketing campaign to draw attention to your brand. It’s about developing a strong business ethic and philosophy behind your brand to evoke strong feelings from your customers or clients.
“Another thing we’re seeing as a consequence of the global financial crisis is the move towards a needs culture rather than a want culture,” Rees-Jones says.
“Wants was where we were very much consumer-driven, an endless reservoir of consumerism. There’s a new rationalism and accountability that’s driving a needs-driven culture – understanding people’s fundamental needs, and satisfying, meeting and exceeding them is a very exciting thing as a starting point for small business.
“When you tap into that vein, people start to engage with you.”
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