Even if you don’t see yourself as a marketer, savvy leaders and workers should recognize the value in having a common language and the ability to look for questions to gather clues about context in any business situation.
Just like we seek to find context of a company for technology-related solutions we offer, as marketers, we have to have rich context to create any kind of relevant, on-strategy marketing communications.
Sometimes, that requires taking a step back and looking at..well, the basics, even if we don’t define ourselves as marketers in our organization.
There are three core aspects that make up brand building. The questions that can take you on the path to knowing more about where a brand currently stands include:
Who are you? A brand’s basic identity must be known in order to communicate this consistently (and believably) to the marketplace.
What are you? This answer relates to the company’s purpose. A company’s underlying values, and the meaning the brand will hold in the consumer’s hearts is “what you are.” Effective, sustainable marketing or sales efforts must have this in the long-run to provide a consumer with a reason to believe in the product or service. At Edoc, we even post our purpose on our website.
What feelings do you create in customers and/or partners? This answer shapes the response a company or brand has for a consumer—and it tells the brand, often times, how well they are communicating the “who” and the “what” aspects of the brand to those stakeholders.
Brand equity has been defined by others as the value of a brand above and beyond its measurable attributes.
As we look to build brand equity then, we look at the following:
Brand awareness. As consumers, we must know a brand exists in order to choose it. Studies have shown that 80 percent of variance in choice is due to set of brands someone considers when they go to purchase.
If you’ve created an entirely new category of offerings, then awareness comes alongside education: you must tell the potential customer why the brand itself (the category!) is important to them, or why it’s a solution to their pain.
Brand associations. We quickly form associations (feelings, emotions, beliefs, thoughts, attitudes–some we aren’t even conscious of) about brands. These associations help us process and retrieve information when it comes to the decision making process.
Brand loyalty. The concept of brand loyalty might now be another phrase that’s being abused, but it comes down to trust in your brand.
Once developed, it has invaluable power: besides retaining customers, loyalty and brand evangelists can serve to attract new customers, can give you more time to respond to threats in the market, can reduce overall marketing costs, help you recruit and retain talent, and more.
Perceived quality. We like to look for signs of greatness as consumers, and we like to confirm our expectations about a brand with other information as it relates to quality. Strong perceived quality can help evolve over time, keep a customer’s faith if they mess up, or just to gain more power in its respective channels.
The fundamentals of marketing are behind why we “build brands” (marketing jargon, perhaps?) to begin with.
One, brand equity management actually brings value to the customer: reduced search costs, decision confidence, and satisfaction with the experience they have with your service/product. I define marketing, when done right, as helping people and businesses find what’s the right solution to their problem. Second, seeing things from a marketing perspective brings value to the company behind the brand: as said, it results in brand loyalty, higher margins, brand extensions, the list goes on and on…
Executed properly, having a company with marketing and sales that are in alignment with purpose can also ensure that those across the entire organization are aware of those guiding principles. It’s forward-thinking, but it’s also a vital part of an open or transparent company culture. This is especially true because now more than ever, every staff member can be an outward signal of what your company represents and stands for.
Just like we ask questions around a variety of factors that give us greater insight and context to help a team become more virtual, when we create strategies and tactics as marketers (and non-marketers alike), we must also have a rich sense of a brand’s current context.
READ MORE: If you liked this post, you might like “5 Ways to Build Your Brand Authentically”
Kim Sykes is a marketer and content creator at Edoc Service, Inc., a total virtual company.