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Branding Content

Hangout Recap: Does Your Company’s Brand Drive Revenue?

By: Tallwave

A great brand is more than a marketing decision and it’s far more than just a logo – it’s a strategy for company growth and stability. Too often, however, companies overlook how powerful a brand can be in driving customer acquisition and improving retention, and marketers get too fixated on the visual and verbal aspects.

Branding and marketing leaders, Tari Haro of SIM Partners, Greg Head advisor and former CMO of Infusionsoft, and Robert Wallace, EVP of Marketing at Tallwave recently shared their insights about what a brand truly is and how it can be leveraged to drive revenue.

Watch the recorded discussion or see some of Q&A below.

What is a “brand” anyway?

Greg Head: Brand means many things to many people. It’s most often simplified as the identity – the logo, the look, the feel, the voice. But brand is a bigger thing. It’s all the intangibles that people hear and receive – all those moments, interactions, perceptions, and emotions is the brand in people's’ minds. There’s not a lot of clarity about brand within companies, and that creates a challenge to execute.

Robert Wallace: Everything on the customer journey ultimately builds into what the customer sees as the brand. It’s a foundational element to an entire company strategy – how they go to market, who they go to market to, the products they build or don’t build, etc. It’s at the highest strategic level of the company. I think brand should be at the CEO level, and really a company wide thing that is strategic and should be company wide.

Tari Haro: You brand is a promise that represents your purpose. It encompasses all the moments across the customer journey. It ends up being that gut feeling someone has when they think of your brand. The trick for marketers is to create the compelling content and experiences that deliver on the brand promise in all those moments across the customer journey.

How are brand and growth tied together?

Robert: A strong brand helps you drive revenue today, but it also allows to forecast and drive future revenue. It’s the whole concept of brand equity – you can start to forecast against it. Stronger brands that stand for something can also typically charge a price premium.

Tari: A strong brand supported by a consistent experience and an integrated program, helps differentiate from the competition and build a foundation for future business growth. It’s a promise that you deliver on.

Greg: Especially in fast-growth companies and startups, it creates a challenge as you’re still learning what your customer experience is, what your target market is, etc. But early-stage companies are in survival and growth mode, so they’re focused on customer acquisition, revenues, and that’s why ‘brand vs. get me more leads’ is always a tradeoff. But branding can only be successful when it’s a strategic part of what you do and becomes an innate part of the experience. So it’s not just marketing as an afterthought.

Robert: When it comes to growth, position is important as well. And this gets into why anyone should care about your product or service over anyone else's. Understanding what your differentiator is in the market, then wrapping messaging around that. Once you have that, it can lead to better leads, more potent marketing messages, better sales calls, etc.

How do you drive internal buy-in around brand related work?

Greg: It needs to be a strategic discussion. Marketing has to answer ‘what do we stand for?’, ‘what is our business model?’, ‘what is our product?’, ‘what do the investors want?’ and ‘how does this grow revenue?’. And leadership has to get into the conversation about ‘what are we really?’ It’s a real partnership between both sides of the table. But right now it’s separated.

Robert: It does take a lot of education, but you have to force people to start addressing who they are and who they aren’t. Then the conversation shifts to one about position in the market rather than one about brand. Overtime, the more you raise those discussions, ligth bulbs start to come on and they start to realize the importance of it at the higher levels.

How do you handle a brand update / enhancement / rebrand when you already have existing business, products or customers?

Tari: One of the challenges we have is, we have two brands – SIM Partners and Velocity. We were finding SIM Partners sounded more like an agency, when really it’s a technology company. So we’re working on a rebrand. The old saying, “It feels like you’re changing the wheels on the bus when you’re already going down the highway,” does have some credence. But for us it’s more than just a brand change, but the meaning we can pack into that brand over time. It will be more of an evolution, and it will lead to future growth.

Greg: When you start to undergo a rebrand, you realize the asset you’ve built up around your current brand. But maybe the market moved or you’ve changed, and it’s time to hit reset.

Robert: There is overhead that comes with a rebrand, and that’s what makes it a challenge.

How do you know if your brand is on point or off track? What are the indicators?

Greg: Part of the problem is it's not easy to measure the success of a brand. The brand is a measurement of your message and whether it is being communicated and responded to positively.

Robert: A quick litmus test you can do is send out google forms to employees, friendly customers, and even lost customers (if they’re willing to do it), and ask them to write, in one sentence, what it is they think your company does and what value you provide. This will show you how people view your brand.

Tari: We recently went through this exercise and it helped us reflect on what about our brand was resonating and what opportunities did we have to grow forward as a brand. Some other things you could look at is press coverage and what messages are shining through, we also regularly talk to analysts to see how they perceive us.

What is one of your favorite brands?

Greg: REI – I love how they have a discipline to not change their purpose, target and business model. And the more they intensely focus on it, the more they grow.

Tari: Nordstrom – Nordstrom is all about providing an amazing shopping experience. Free shipping online, no questions asked return policy with no expiration, and personal shoppers that essentially do one-to-one marketing with their customers. And from a one-to-moment standpoint, their app and online experiences dovetail. For instance, if there items in your shopping cart, you might get a notification on your app when you walk near the physical store alerting you that those items are available there if you want to pick them up. They’re delivering on their promises across the board.

Robert: Warby Parker – They’re all about the customer journey. Buying glasses stinks because they are always over priced and having to try them on, so Warby Parker found a way to change that. They send you five frames to try out for a week and give you time to choose. They’ve made the process simple. Another example of an intensely focused brand.

This is part of our ongoing live discussion series. For future live discussions, check here. Watch the recorded hangout below:

Written by Tallwave

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