Over the years we have worked with large companies whose success hinges on the power of their brand, its reputation, consistency and ability to attract the market. Some companies simply understand that it is more effective to make it easier for customers to buy than to try, stridently, to sell, sell, sell.
FortuneWest has also worked with small companies and SMEs whose fortunes we have changed by helping them to understand what it is to behave like a brand and not like a product. Most of the companies we worked with have been more than competent, and profitable, but have presented to the market technical features and in some cases have indulged in defensive marketing rather than having the confidence to challenge or to lead. When that happens, companies’ revenues tend to plateau as they struggle to win new name business and penetrate sectors outside their close sphere of influence.
Companies with turnovers of £5-15 million who have not previously explored brand development or online growth are well placed for new growth via branding initiatives and optimising offline success.
The process of branding involves creating something unique, a personality for a product or service using consistent design and self-description, in order to deliver for the product a consistent feel, look and competitive position.
The necessary components of a brand are: a unique name, a logo, a designed identity, a reputation (or potential for), a provenance, emotional meaning to the consumer, consistency, producer pride, and a worth more than an unbranded product.
Brand is a promise about consistent quality and identity is the visual or oral expression of that promise.
Brand is also closely associated with authenticity. We have noticed, especially when working with engineers, technologists and software houses, that there is sometimes scepticism about brand; perhaps it is viewed as mere aesthetics or spin. That is understandable. In an engineer’s world something either works or does not work. Dressing it up should not make a difference. However, where scepticism prevails, we find examples of companies too often competing on price alone and failing to build emotional loyalty.
Some businesses dislike emotion and tend to focus on the measurable side of transactions. It seems easier to focus on building a product and expanding market share. But with internet access and globalisation creating commoditisation, few businesses can thrive by focusing solely on the rational side of a transaction.
When companies understand what it is to behave like a brand it is easier to sell value coupled with customer experience and not just functionality. We help technologists to remain authentic to their manufacturing heritage and yet add a compelling presentation layer and sell a relationship as well as good engineering. To win over the sceptics we have to demonstrate that success is indicated by how many fish you catch, not by how pretty your flies are!
FortuneWest also gets involved in brand when it is time for a re-brand or brand refresh. Typically a re-brand is called for when a company’s message has become outdated or when it is time to signal change or new business momentum. A brand refresh is usually expressed in an updated identity (for example, check the evolution of the Shell icon over the decades) and requires the support of a strong internal as well as external communications campaign in order to be effective.
The last word on brand is that a brand should never be boring. Some argue that brand should always be brilliant. So, why do so many service companies define themselves by saying ‘on time, on budget’? Is it that so many competitors fail in this regard that it is perceived as a differentiator? One might think that delivering a service when promised and for the stated price are the bare minimums for customer satisfaction.
Why not talk to FortuneWest about the health and potential of your brand. You have nothing to lose and potentially the world to gain. Read about FortuneWest's approach to Copy writing, brand naming and verbal identity.
Read Millward Brown report on top brands' performance for practical insight into shifting strategies and trends in many sectors.