While it's easy to understand the cost of your products and business operations, it's harder to put a clear value on your brand. That doesn't mean it's not important; establishing a clear brand is key to the long term success and overall value of a business.
It determines how well you are connecting with your target audience and conveying the value of your products and business. This is important for increasing sales, developing relationships with loyal customers, and conveying your business as an attractive opportunity when you come to sell.
We take a look at four ways in which you increase your business's value as a brand.
What is your brand?
Your brand isn’t your product, your company name, your logo, your website, or any individual part of your business. It’s the impression that all of these elements can create - your brand is defined by the overall perception of your business. It is essentially your business' reputation.
Although it’s hard to put a specific financial value on your brand, having a strong brand can increase awareness, give you more credibility, improve your reputation, and give customers a better experience - all of which will increase your business’s value.
Increasing your business's value as a brand
Video: Brand matters – How to assess brand value | Siegel Gale
Cohesive tone of voice and message
Brand consistency is essential to establishing and increasing your business' value. You need to have a clear and unified approach to articulating your value to your audience; what you can deliver and why people should be interested.
Your tone of voice needs to be consistent across all channels, and everything from your website design to your social media posts needs to have a cohesive look and brand identity. They all need to be using the same language, keywords, and opinions. If someone comes across your brand on different channels over a period of time, and the brand is consistent, they will start to associate your content with your brand and become more aware of your business.
A good example of brand consistency is Dropbox. It has a simple, recognizable logo that they use across all communications and marketing channels, which immediately identifies their brand. The logo color is one of its key brand colors that's used throughout their website and software. Dropbox’s tone of voice is consistently clear, concise, and focused on how it will streamline and declutter your online workspace.
Get everyone onboard
Your brand isn't just what you say about your business, it's also what you actually do and the experiences that customers have with your business. To create a strong brand you need to be the best all round. It's not just about marketing, everyone in the business needs to understand the brand and be working towards your brand purpose.
Every department and person in your business needs to provide value to customers. You need to offer a great product with no issues or problems, easy delivery, and excellent customer service if something does go wrong. There need to be no negative experiences with your business, and your employees need to be enthusiastic and happy so that they convey a positive view.
Target a specific audience
A cohesive brand strategy is a good start but to really increase your value as a brand you should try to focus on a smaller section of your target audience to build a strong connection. Find an audience that's already going to be interested in your business and products and target your brand towards them. Understand the marketing channels that they use and then create tailored messages for those channels.
Support a social cause
Finding a social cause that relates to your business and you can support isn't just a good thing to do in itself but it's also an extremely effective way of building up your brand. Supporting a cause makes a clear statement of what your business is about, what you believe in, and what you stand for.
This doesn't just mean an annual donation - your business should build up a long term relationship with a charity or organization. You can support them more than just financially, offer support, run joint fundraising campaigns, or volunteer for them. Whatever social cause you decide to support will help you to build stronger relationships with existing customers, and you'll be able to reach a whole new audience.
Pick one that tackles an issue that's either relevant to you or your business has a personal connection to. It could be supporting a local group that helps in your local community to build up your ties in the area, or you could support a more widespread cause.
The cosmetics company Lush is a good example of a business that goes above and beyond with their support of social causes, and it's integral to their brand's value.
Lush has a clear stance on a number of environmental and social issues that underpin their products from organic ingredients, ethical production, and package recycling schemes, through to their customer service and their marketing. Everything about their products and stores, as well as the numerous social causes they support clearly defines their brand and makes it more valuable.
Improve your internal infrastructure
Internal infrastructure is essential for increasing your value as a brand. You need to ensure that your business’s internal infrastructure is set up so that your brand strategy is implemented consistently, and any new buyers can easily pick up your strategy and hit the ground running.
Set up a comprehensive branding folder using cloud storage that can be easily accessed by anyone in the business. This should include your brand strategy, style guides and assets such as your logo, fonts, and brand color codes.
You should set up a structure for new projects using task management software such as GetBusy to include checkpoints for brand consistency. Such software helps manage internal processes, providing a framework for business operations and task management without the need for laborious - or expensive - setup processes.
You can also create email templates and automated emails using something like MailChimp so that all communications are following your brand guidelines. And you can set up a process for scheduling social media posts with a tool like Hootsuite to ensure that posts across different channels are sending a cohesive message.
Audit your current brand
Before following these steps, to effectively increase your business value as a brand you should evaluate your existing brand and the brand strategy that you’re following. Look at your business goals, review your target audience research, and your competitor analysis and then assess your business purpose. Your business’s purpose should be more than just to make money, you need an overall idea or motivation that sets you apart from the rest.
You might find that your audience or customer base has changed as you’ve grown, and your assumptions about how to connect with them are outdated.
Once you’ve assessed your brand purpose, you need to look at your brand name - how well known is it? Does it convey your business purpose? While it’s usually not a good idea to change your business name or core product name once you’re established, in some cases if the meaning or purpose has gotten lost it could improve your brand value.
Following on from your brand purpose and name, you should review your main image - from your logo to brand colors to aesthetic and tone of voice. These all need to be coherent and aligned with your audience and your purpose.
While your brand value is just one factor that will make it easier to sell your business, a strong brand demonstrates a lot of growth potential and opens new opportunities to develop your business.