Brand Equity—Hold On or Move On?
Is it time to let your brand strategy go?
Truly knowing what equity your brand has is a tricky business. Here are a few tips to help you decide if your brand strategy is worth holding on to or if it is time to let it go.
So what is brand equity? It’s basically how much your brand resonates with your customer today. Does your brand image reflect the way you do business? And do your customers know and rely on the visual and verbal cues that tell them this is you?
Your brand equity can live in many different forms—your name, your logo, your color palette, recurring visual elements, spokespeople or mascots, tone and voice, jingles or sonic branding, unique touchpoints, and most basically, the service you offer.
And each one of these elements will have different equity. Intel could likely update their logo with very few people noticing. But if they changed those four tones you hear at the end of any of their commercials, they’d be losing out on something that has widespread recognition. If DoubleTree Hotels stopped giving out fresh cookies to guests it would be a lot harder for them to differentiate themselves from any other hotel.
Find out your equity
Start by quantifying your current equity. Conduct customer surveys or interviews to see what people really think of your brand in all it’s forms. Highlight recurring comments about likes and dislikes to get a better picture of the external perception of your organization. Don’t forget your own employees in this process. Their views may enlighten you.
Internally, do a brand audit and a competitor audit. Lay out every touchpoint you have with customers in a row and see how consistent they are. Compare them to your current offerings and value proposition. Are they telling the right story?
Review the same materials from your competitors. Where are the crossovers? Does someone else in your market own the same colors you are using? Is everyone using the same language? Think about what space you can own that your competitors can’t.
Weigh your options
You’ve likely already invested quite a bit into your brand both in time and material goods. Calculate the investment to make a change. This will vary depending on what elements you are changing. Perhaps you just need to add a few new customer interactions or tweak your tone of voice. Maybe you need a brand overhaul. Think about what each end of the spectrum will cost you in time and money.
Next, calculate lost business or opportunities if you don’t change. Will customers confuse you with a competitor because you project yourselves in similar ways? Does your brand reflect the business you used to be and not what you are today? Are you missing out on customers looking for your new offerings?
Through this exercise the choice should reveal itself.
Take the leap
Once you've decided to either embrace what you’ve got or move on to something new, jump in with both feet and get your brand up to snuff as soon as you can. Go back to that audit and update or nix anything that doesn’t make the cut.
Creating brand equity takes time and patience. Continually review your brand and make sure it aligns with the great work you are doing. Your reward will be a strong brand that encourages customers to connect.