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Branding is an Investment not an Expense

Bernard Kassab
Bernard Kassab

A lot of business owners think that your brand is your logo. It is so much more than that. You need to know who you are, who your customers are as well as what your business stands for. This includes attributes you want for your brand and the feelings you want to elicit from your clients when they work with you. In essence, you need to create a personality for your brand.

What I've dubbed Customer Experience Centred Branding can be seen in such companies as Apple, Sony, Coke and Nike, who are true leaders leading the way - it takes integrating brand strategy and customer experience into the businesses got to market model to leverage your brand over the competition.

Customers experience a brand from the bottom up but creating a brand is a top down process. At the top, you have your vision, values, attributes, points of difference and brand promise. The personality of your brand will relate to its interaction with your clients. Does it have the same values? Does it reinforce the lifestyle choices? Do those elements align with your vision for the brand?

As can be seen in these market leading brands, design-led thinking is key to Customer Experience Centered Branding and has a direct correlation with their performance. These companies have a core design service employed both internally and externally.

When comprehensively adopted throughout a business, they experience statistically significant growth. They not only increase their market but also build trust, loyalty and a following around it by forming a culture.

This can be seen in the downturn Apple took a large drop in the 1990's as it lost its core design thinking. Diversifying into a confusing range of poorly designed computer models and licencing customers were unable to commit to the brand. Once they reduced the range in 1997 with the return of Steve Jobs and the return of simplified design-led thinking, the brand built a strong cultural following and commitment.

This is reinforced with the stats we found in an article we came back across from GSM Magazine published back in 2015. It shows a study of the stock market over the past 10 years displaying how design-led UK FTSE listed brands have outperformed competition by over 200% (UK Design Council study of The Impact of Design on Stock Market Performance, 2006).

For this to be successful a business must combine Customer Experience Centred Branding by integrating their design team into not only the creative department but also the business strategy and the dynamic culture to produce more desirable products and services - in turn faster growth and passionate customers. Consistency applied your business will have a sustainable advantage, gain market share and can even reduce production costs.

When it comes to the experience of a brand, think of it like dating. Your branding is just a logo and website that looks good but doesn't necessarily function too well, all you have is your outfit, hair and makeup. You wouldn't want to go on a date with someone who was basically a beautiful empty shell. They are nice to look at, but would you actually enjoy spending time with them? Similarly, what if every time you go on a date, the person portrays a different personality each time? On the first date, everything felt just right and then then on the second date it feels like you are out with a completely different person. This would most likely put you off and start questioning if this is the right person for you. If your branding isn't consistent, you will drive away customers. You need to give your brand depth, but also a clear direction.

Your brand is who your business is. Your marketing is how you present yourself to the world. You need to know who you are and what your brand represents before you market it.
The focus on Brand and Customer experience can drive forward every aspect of a business - from how products and services are communicated to innovations that improve the business processes and strategy - effectively becoming "an integral part of the economy."

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