The State of Branding in 2017

 In Brand

hen we say the word “branding” often we’re thinking just in terms of the design or feelings. However, branding is much deeper than that. The foundation of brand is the brand strategy.

If you’re a leader and you don’t believe that your brand is core to your business, you’re not just making a strategic mistake, you’re neglecting your fiduciary responsibilities. — Garret Putnam, SAS.

The brand strategy is one of the core footings of the business, which is why I don’t understand companies who completely outsource their brand. An agency will never know the essence of your brand as much as you do. You should be the one to create the brand strategy.

Differentiate or Die

As Martin McFadden said, “Pricing only matters when customers and prospects can’t tell the difference between your products and services and a competitor’s.” This difference is the essence of your brand. The stronger brand you have, the less you have to compromise when it comes to the pricing and other business aspects.

1. Prove the brand ROI to your executives.

Showing financial gain through building the brand remains as a top challenge for marketers, since the executives are still weary.

Suggestion: show in numbers what the value of the brand is.

Google the brand value of any world-known companies, like Nike, Apple, IBM, and you will come across some impressive numbers. Branding isn’t just there to make your products look pretty. In some cases, brand value can be higherthan the company’s annual revenue.

Formula for calculating the brand value:

Brand Value = { (V/S)b — (V/S)g } * Sales

(V/S)b = Enterprise Value / Sales ratio of the firm with the benefit of the brand name
(V/S)g = Enterprise Value / Sales ratio of the firm with the generic product

There are other ways to calculate the brand value, you just have to find the approach that works best for your business.

2. Base your brand strategy on customer insights.

Acquiring new customers is still the number one priority for marketers. Therefore, delivering a high-quality product is no longer enough. Building strong customer relationships is more important than ever.


While spray and pray approach may have delivered results in the past, it’s no longer the case. Cold-calling and interruptive marketing is not effective, because the market is no longer supplier-centric, rather customer-centric. We do not tell customer what we want them to buy, they tell us what we should sell.

To stay relevant, the marketing teams should mine all the data they can — gather feedback, do research, analyse data — and translate them into action plans.

While in 2016 storytelling was the most important aspect of brand strategy, now the focus has shifted towards customer experience.

3. User personas are more important than ever.

The research shows, while marketers did recognise the importance of documenting the user personas, they’ve struggled with the accuracy.

Why are user personas so important? You need to be different from competitors by finding similarity with your customers. You can achieve this by having a clear image of who your customer is.

Determining target audience is the first step and describing the buyer persona is the second. You craft your buyer persona by understanding your target audience’s age, gender, education, financial situation, buying decision and the shopping habits and create an identity out of an audience. It can be more than one.

4. More inbound marketing, less interruptive marketing.

The marketing world has become customer-centric. Which means that, the customers have unlimited choices and the ability to distinguish a good product from a better one. The educated customer can’t be easily lured into traditional marketing traps. Therefore, product promotion should be toned down.

Learn to listen and respond, rather than promote aggressively.

Start a conversation with your customers, make friends with them, find a common ground, discover the problem they have that you can fix and then and ONLY then offer your product as the solution.

72% of the respondents of Onbrand magazine research are focused on building audiences as opposed to directly selling to consumers. In today’s digital landscape where consumers are blocking ads and choosing what to engage with, brands need to earn their attention.

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