Brand fitness is an investment, not an expense
October 28, 2019
Not a one-time event.
Is your brand always on? Or was it just a one-time event?
Do you have a dedicated brand budget? Or is it a subset of marketing? Does anyone speak up for branding, or it is the last thing to be added when there’s a surplus and the first thing to be eliminated when there are budget cuts?
Is brand viewed as coming at the expense of direct response marketing? Or do you understand both can be done, and should be done, at the same time?
Most people think about branding as creation. Creating your brand at the beginning. Or rebranding when you need to pivot. But a better way might be to think about it as brand fitness. Something that needs to be done continuously.
There are many areas where you can invest in brand fitness. One, of course, is brand awareness. Do potential customers know who you are? Do existing customers understand who you are?
Another area is review. Companies change over time. Products, services, markets, change. Even value propositions change, as we’ll explore in our next article. But many companies let their brand get stale and become irrelevant, or even misleading.
Another area for investment is refining your brand. Is your brand as sharp, as focused as it can be? Are there new opportunities, perhaps new technologies that can make your brand better?
It’s really about having a dedicated focus ongoingly.
For your brand to remain relevant and top of mind it needs reinforcement. Things change: markets, competitors, customers. Everything is in a state of flux, so relevance will change over time. Therefore listening to your customers, being connected to what’s going on in the marketplace, iterating, building and strengthening your brand are essential to remaining relevant.
But without a dedicated budget, staying relevant will be left to chance and most likely won’t happen.
Direct response marketing and brand fitness should not be seen as mutually exclusive. There are varying degrees of crossover in communications and culture, keeping the brand activated across staff to make sure they are living the brand and connecting with it.
If you look at any list of top brands, they span many industries and are headquartered in different countries. But one common denominator is that they see branding as an investment, not an expense.
And when they face a scandal, as Volkswagen did a few years ago, it’s the brand people as much as the engineers who right the ship – or in this case the car.