Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Valuing Your Brand in the Marketplace

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Customer needs and requirements are constantly changing. Maintaining your value to them and your position in their minds is a perpetual challenge. Owners and their employees often become complacent with the status quo. We simply get stuck in the rut of day-to-day activities. When we begin taking the customer for granted, or fail to realize customer requirements have changed, we’re often surprised to find we’ve been replaced in the minds of many of our now “lost” customers by. We’re often seen as irrelevant or out-of-touch, or “old school.”

This can be the beginning of the end for any company’s brand and position in the marketspace. Too often we move ahead with a product or service idea with little or no thought to the future. I’m not saying to overthink every decision, but you need some kind of vision for your company and customers.

How do you really “value” brand equity? The ultimate measure is what someone is willing to pay for a branded product. Are you able to get higher prices per product or service simply because the products are always outstanding?

This may or may not be the case, but consider this. Brand and brand reputation often are the basis for trust. Trust is the lubricant that opens the wallet because the customer knows from past experience they’ll receive substantially more value than what they’re putting out. Carefully cultivated, people recognize your name, logo, years in business, etc.

How much do you think the Apple or Nike’s logo imprint is worth? Another example. Recently we’ve been seeing the red and white Target bullseye and bull terrier everywhere. Target invested $1.2 billion last year on their commercial campaign. Follow-up consumer surveys indicate an unbelievable 97 percent recognize the Target brand. That’s amazing, but what does this mean to you?

The question is; what is YOUR brand worth? And more importantly, what are you doing to maintain your position in your customer’s mind as their requirements change? Even more importantly, what’re you doing to replace competitive brands with yours in the minds of their customers?

In this battle for mindshare, your role as a business owner is to be the driving force to create brand ownership and recognition. This is particularly important for us in our industry. Not only do you have the responsibility of creating and maintaining the recognition of your brand, you have the same for your customers if you imprint apparel in the corporate, commercial, or community space.

Are the images you produce helping or hurting your customers and clients? Think about the argument for mindshare and recognition. When you add a sponsor logo on the back of an event shirt, is it going to help that sponsor be recognized and remembered? More often than not, we simply scan a business card and throw on the shirt. From many of the examples I’ve looked at over the years, I’m embarrassed for the sponsor, not proud of their contribution.

There have been an increasing number of critical voices arguing the concept of branding is out of date and no longer adds value. The argument says that anyone can find anything cheaper on the Internet. While this may be true, what is missing is the trust element. The more you can do to reinforce your brand with trust and reputation, the stronger your company and business will be.