5 reasons why branding is worth it

Updated: May 31

A guide for those considering investing in branding, so that you turn it into business success that is ROI positive.

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There are many things that make branding worth it and what I mean by branding is developing a brand strategy and/or a brand identity. To get a handle on what a brand identity includes you can take a look at the Services page on my site - or for more context, check out the last article I published about using your brand identity effectively.


Now a brand to me is a captivating moment of connection with a consumer and developing that connection is as much an overnight task as it is a lifelong endeavour. However, knowing what it’s worth can vary. It may take a week for millions of dollars to slap you across the face or it could take years as a result of developing or refreshing your branding.

What makes a brand successful can be summed up nicely with this little word-finder concept I came across while doing a random search about branding the other day (shown above). As you can see, ‘BRAND’ can be found when you combine an Objective, Advertising, Marketing, Identity and Product. I don’t know who first came up with this but it’s pretty close to being on the money. If Team and Consumer could fit in there, it’d be perfect but I guess you could argue that Consumer could be part of Objective. As in, the objective is to connect with a target consumer.


Now I bring up the consumer because knowing if branding is worth it comes down to knowing the value it delivers to consumers. Knowing the value of what you offer is extremely undervalued. I’ll let you go back and read that sentence again. What it means is that we’re not clearly understanding our value enough to be able to effectively communicate that value beyond what it is we offer and its features. It might even be believing that just because you offer the best product or have the cheapest product, that people will then buy it. But I guess you could say, “why does it matter if we don’t understand our underlying value?”

Well, let me pose it to you in two ways to show that it does.



 


Consumer Benefits = Value

The first is consumer benefits. What will your consumer benefit from buying or buying into what it is you have to offer? This is where you can compare what your offering will do for your customer when you analyse where it sits on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (graph shown below).


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (source at end of article)

Because there can be some tangible value underlying in your typical consumer’s decision making that influences whether or not they buy based on their needs and the benefits your offering delivers them. For most brands, this can rely on a few factors including awareness of your brand and availability of your offering at the time of need for this to play out effectively. However, this ability to satiate their needs means you can tap into that when you communicate with your consumers so that they think of your brand at the time they need what you have to offer. Which ultimately gets baked into what consumers remember your brand for.


 

Value for you


While those things are important and it’s not to say they should be overlooked, the brand value I’m more interested in when it comes to addressing the question of “Is branding worth it?” is related to the value you’re going to get as a client of mine. Or for your clients if you’re a fellow creative in the brand space like I am.

So the second way I want to pose why brand value matters to answer this question can be broken down into 5 key points where the impact of branding can be demonstrated when it comes to ROI and revenue in the short and long term:


(press the arrows to collapse each point - as they're quite extensive)

1. When you want consumers to discover you

Whether they were looking for you or not, branding, combined with effective marketing and advertising is how your brand is first discovered. The term for this is brand awareness. Now attribution for the reason a customer had first become aware of you can be tricky to pinpoint and it can take up to 7 points of contact with your brand before a consumer buys. But let me give you one example of how branding can make a valuable impact. Typically the job of marketing and advertising is to generate awareness based on price, placement, product and promotion of your brand and its offering to the right consumer. However, without an identity, how does anyone recognise you to tell you apart from others in a sea of competition? So the first example is this experience you may have had. Have you’ve ever been down the shopping aisles of a supermarket and the colour of a product you’ve never seen before catches your eye on the shelf because it is vastly different to those around it? This is a ‘captivating moment of connection’, as small as it may seem. You might not need it now, but you’re now aware of it and it has planted a seed of value that forms one point of attribution which can add up to a purchase. If it’s combined with an attractive price, a standout message that further captivates your attention and meets your likely needs/wants at the time of purchase…BOOM! Message received, it’s in your shopping cart. You now have that packet of chips (or crisps if you’re British) in your hand because you had a hankering for a snack, it was listed as 1/2 price and the packaging colour combined has just compelled you to purchase it.

And this is a typical scenario that plays out time and time again for a lot of brands. We get recognised by colour, then imagery, then type and then a message about what the hell we’re offering, which could be anything from stockings, to a soft drink, to business coaching, to home removalists. The big question though is what is that worth to your brand in the short term or long term? My guess is a lot and you’ll see why in the next few points.

2. When you want a consumer to pick you instead of someone else.

3. When you want consumers to keep coming back

4. When you want consumers to happily pay a higher price

5. When you need to attract a team to make the first 4 points possible


 

All roads lead to Brand Equity


To develop a brand strategy that directs your decision making. To name your brand appropriately so people recognise it and don’t forget it. To develop a suitable brand identity people can be captivated by and connect with. To develop relevant and engaging brand touchpoints that develop memorable experiences consumers want to share and come back for more. This is the value that shows why developing a brand is worth the investment.

All this value amounts to what is known as brand equity. Which can be described as "When you take away the product or service you offer, what are you left with?" in most cases it's a strong brand identity and distinctive assets/touchpoints that define your brand and the experience consumers have with it. And what I’ve shown you in this article is a mix of two brand equity models.

Professor David Aaker’s Brand Equity model, which looks like this:


And Keller’s Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model that marketing professor Kevin Lane Keller published in his marketing textbook Strategic Brand Management which looks like this:



Keller’s model is a little less self-explanatory so I’ll share this example I found of how it can be used in the context when applied to Nike:



(Source link at the end of the article)

In essence, brand equity is, in addition to revenue and profit, that happy result your brand can achieve when it makes an impact on your consumers and your team to influence decisions.

Which is worth something, subjective to how it plays out for your brand.

It could be big or small depending on your business.

It could be the level of importance you place on it.

It could be the value a consumer places on it when they associate themselves with your brand to form their own identity. Some call this brand loyalty when we hear people say “I only shop at this store”, “I only drink that drink”, or “I always wear that brand of clothes”.


 

So is branding worth it?

When you’re in business development mode and you consider branding as an option to grow your business effectively, if your understanding of branding has now gone way beyond what you first knew of it as simply designing a pretty logo. To now being seen as an investment that can make a measurable impact on your business, your team and consumers. It becomes 100%, Yes!



 

SOURCES:


https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs


https://twitter.com/Kat_La/status/1480747320341774342?s=20

https://business.adobe.com/ca/resources/digital-economy-index.html

https://media.bain.com/Images/Value_online_customer_loyalty_you_capture.pdf

https://liamnguyen.weebly.com/brand-equity/abc