Nearly two years ago I asked if your brand could be doing more. The question is still relevant. Maybe now more than ever. Determining the true value of your brand and the ROI beyond mere brand equity can be difficult to do if you are only looking at the dollars it generates directly. You’re probably not measuring most of the ways your company, products, or services make money, much less your brand. But if you examine all the ways your brand can and does affect your business—tangibly and intangibly, internally and externally—then you can determine whether or not it is currently a high performing asset.
Bottom-line results are measured in a multitude of ways. But are you measuring ways your brand can directly impact your business when it is being built and nurtured as an encompassing brand ecosystem? In a recent international survey among companies serving B2B markets1, brand building was the top marketing strategy. Although the importance of branding is widely recognized, many businesses find that they face significant challenges in building their brands. Here are some critical non-marketing areas to consider in order to be sure your brand is being built and deployed properly.
The Trusted Brand ROI
How much respect and credibility does your brand have in the marketplace? Is it measurable? Does your competition respect your brand? Your brand should be leading the way in communication to establish a solid and sustainable foundation of credibility as part of its overall reputation. These efforts result in an easier path in negotiating, networking, supply chain, finance, and even legal matters. If your brand has been portrayed as truthful, authentic, and transparent, it is likely to be a more trusted brand. And so are your people and your products.
The Employee Brand ROI
How do your people feel about your brand? And how does your brand feel about your people? It should be a mutual relationship of admiration. Using your brand to engage and then coach your associates is a path to building strong, lasting relationships between the two. Associates working for strong brands are much happier, better performers, and are viewed with higher esteem among peers. This is directly related to throughput, employee retention, culture building, and ROI. Use your brand to move your associates through the different levels of engagement to create advocates and ambassadors, and to then maintain and build adherence. Internal brand experiences are as important to brand building as external ones.
The R+D / NPD Brand ROI
A healthy brand ecosystem is constantly adjusting to maintain alignment with your business goals. Those modifications are then reflected internally to inform the insights and innovation processes around research and development, all the way through to new product development. Consistent and constant feedback from the marketplace about brand elasticity, adherence, awareness, and penetration can guide potential design innovations. This will differentiate and distinguish your product and brand, creating more powerful experiences, and positively effecting your ROI.
The Relationship Brand ROI
How much does your brand depend on vendors and suppliers? Are you the preferred brand among them? How do your customers rate your customer service? Second to none? Ideally, your answer is yes to both. If not, your brand is not working hard enough in these areas. If your product production is dependent on raw goods or you need outside data to inform your service organization, the relationship your brand has with your supply and vendor partners is vital. You want them to care about your brand as much as you do. On the other end of the spectrum, if your customer service does not reflect the tenets, the quality and compelling truths of your brand, the customer experience will suffer. And so will your sales. One of your strongest brand ROIs comes from customer delight. Extraordinary customer experiences.
The Emotional Brand ROI
Brands are a tribal thing. Having an emotional connection to a brand, as employee or customer, can stem many tides. Crisis management often depends on the emotional relationship you’ve created between your brand and your constituents. If built on truth, transparency, and authenticity, it may be your strongest bond, and deliver the greatest ROI.
The Leadership Brand ROI
This is all up to you. Great leaders recognize the intangibles that contribute to high performance. Pursuing and developing a culture of respect, mutual admiration, and common purpose are key. This culture, manifested first internally and then externally through your brand and its many touchpoints, is what seeds the fields for many years of prosperous growth. Passion and conviction can drive success. Belief and commitment in how your brand contributes to a bottom line will ensure that success, transform your brand into a high performing asset, and guarantee a healthy return on your investment.
1About the survey: The research comprises a longitudinal online survey (annual waves) conducted by B2B International; the most recent wave was fielded in October and November of 2017. The total sample size was n=356 (57% in Europe and 43% in the US) and comprised large businesses (the average business revenue was $3.05 billion). All respondents were required to have a responsibility for marketing or research.