According to a report by Brand Finance, over 60% of global brand value is intangible. Intangible and influential brand factors, such as perception, reputation and awareness, hold an enormous amount of weight in terms of consumer preference for your organisation. In order to control and utilise these variables you must first master brand equity.
When faced with the packed shelves of a supermarket, we are confronted with an over- saturated environment of product and brand varieties. With major supermarkets currently improving the selection and quality of their cheaper home-brand alternatives, it stands to reason that the logical and most cost effective solution for consumers is a home-brand product. However if this is the case, why is it that home-brand purchases only make up approximately 20% of packaged grocery sales across Australia?
The answer is brand equity.
Brand equity is a vital value measure of your business that stems away from financial assessment, instead focussing on consumer perception and brand image. Brand equity is often the overarching success driver for organisations that solidifies the brand’s competitive position in the eyes of a consumer.
Your company’s brand equity is a significant resource with an enormous amount of potential. Equity goes hand-in-hand with loyalty, which drives consumers to be less price sensitive and more likely to advocate for your products and services. Through harnessing the power of brand equity you will not only be able to drive resources and objectives away from financial limitations and towards customer value proposition, but also communicate to an audience that is more responsive to brand messaging and more likely to remain loyal to your products and services in the long term.
To recite one of the most overused (yet rarely overrated) marketing mantras of all time - 20% of your customers will generate 80% of your sales traffic and revenue - never neglect the power of your 20%.
So if you are looking to improve your brand perception and build more meaningful relationships with your consumers, here are my 5 essential tips to mastering brand equity.
1. Know your position in the market
Albeit glaringly obvious, shaping brand equity begins with positioning. You must not only know your position within your relevant market, but also understand your purpose within this market. Strip your brand back to its core value proposition and understand why your unique strategy, philosophy and personality set you aside from your competitors.
One way to do this is using the ‘Golden Circle’. Developed by Simon Sinek, the Golden Circle is a management tool that questions what do you do in your organisation, how do you do it and finally why do you do it.
- Most organisations have a strong understanding of what they do or sell.
- Fewer organisations understand how they do it; what their true key value proposition or USP means for their market.
- Very few organisations can truly define why their organisation exists or functions beyond that of ‘to make a profit’.
This ‘why’ factor is a key determinant in your positioning and greatly impacts the development of brand equity.
Most companies begin with ‘what’ when positioning their products - we sell computers, clothing, stationary etc. However, the most influential companies worldwide define themselves by more than just their products or services. Successful companies are always driven by their ‘why’ factor; the strong values and beliefs that are the underlying foundation of their purpose. Take Apple for example, they don’t just sell technology - they ‘think differently’. Or Nike, they don’t just sell athletic wear - they challenge you to achieve your goals and ‘just do it’.
Face your positioning strategy with your company's core philosophy in mind, and your ‘why’ factor will set you apart.
2. Build a suite of strong brand assets
Brand assets are a set of identifying visual or auditory characteristics that represent your brand. These can span anywhere from distinctive logos and mascots to simple identifiers such as colours, sounds or fonts.
These identifiers are resources your brand can utilize as triggers to build consumer recognition and retention. However, in order to take full advantage of these image and communication assets, you must first be confident that they best represent your brand and its values.
A perfect example of the development of brand assets can be found in the brand and marketing overhaul our team recently completed for Complete Skin Specialists.
From a black-and-white brand to an evolved, elegant and eye-catching design; our designers played off Complete Skin Specialists classic logo by refreshing it with a touch of gold. Adding colour and texture to the logo and its accompanying branding materials will increase consumer retention and brand association with the Complete Skin Specialists brand, ultimately maturing the company’s visual assets and deepening consumer perception.
3. Create and communicate meaning
When building your brand image and equity, communication is key. Your brand messaging is a powerful tool you have full control over, so use it to its full potential. Speak with purpose and inspire your consumers to make a purchase.
In short, tell a story.
Spin your intangible assets into a tangible scenario or feeling your consumers can relate and aspire to. Associate your brand with imagery that supports your core values and reinforces your key messaging.
Communicate meaningfully and consumers will listen.
At Thirst, we believe meaning begins with putting yourself in the shoes of your consumers. For example, we know that our customers are looking for a helping hand when it comes to putting together their Annual Reports, so we have created the ultimate, free Annual Report checklist. This checklist shares some of our Annual Report expertise with our customers and makes their lives that little bit easier, all whilst promoting the Thirst Creative brand and name - it’s a win/win!
This checklist has generated a significant amount of organic traction and ranks well with Google. We have also received over 330 downloads!
Be the brand that goes above and beyond for your consumers and equity will follow.
4. Build lasting relationships
In the age of social media, brand-consumer relationships have never been more prevalent.
Perception is one of the defining variables of brand equity, and there is no simpler tool to shape, manipulate and reinforce your brand image than through your social media channels. Engage with your consumers, speak with a holistic voice and build your reputation within your community first hand.
Your social media profiles are an extension of your brand voice, so use them to reach out to consumers and create a more personal brand experience. Be sure to respond to your consumers and reward their behaviour, what may seem like a simple ‘like’ or ‘message’ may have a significant impact on your consumer perception and subsequent brand equity.
Building strong, long-lasting relationships will ultimately increase the lifetime value of your consumer. If you can turn a single transaction into a brand advocate this will help improve your brand equity with minimal effort.
5. Monitor, reflect and re-model
Understanding the effects of your equity efforts is an essential component in building a stronger brand. Your brand is constantly evolving and so too will be the way consumers perceive and respond to your marketing, messaging and offerings.
Monitor loyalty, assess awareness levels and take the initiative to understand what your consumers are saying and thinking.
Positive brand equity will be a constant progression process for your business that won’t simply disappear with the adjustment of a couple more Instagram posts. Reinforce positive changes within your brand and consistently evolve and re-model those that need a little more work.
Brand equity may be a challenge, but more importantly it is a worthy investment with the potential for significant ROI.
Where to from here?
Are you looking to boost your brand equity and build a stronger relationship with your consumers? Our team of marketing strategists are ready to help you discover your brand’s difference. Get in touch with us today.