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Brand Value – Why it matters

Brand Value – Why it matters

If, like many of us, you are wondering where the money is right now, the short answer is Tech. And the figures are mind-blowing!

Tech companies dominated the Best Global Brands 2020 report from Interbrand with Apple, at an estimated $322.9 billion as the company with the largest brand value. Amazon follows at $200,677 million, demonstrating an impressive 60% increase in brand value, compared to last year.

In the relentless disruption of the covid-19 pandemic, communication brands and social media have flourished. Instagram (#19), YouTube (#30) and Zoom (#100) are all appearing in the rankings for the first time. Although a diverse list, there is no doubt that Silicon Valley technology is on top in every sense of the word.

The Worlds most valuable brands 2020
The worlds most valuable brands 2020

So why does Brand Value Matter?

With numbers like these, it’s clear that brands offer the potential to create incredible commercial value for companies and corporations. The old adage that “People buy brands, not products” – is particularly relevant in the Covid-19 climate. Differentiation is key to long-term profit, growth and staying power. Brands that have achieved differentiation fared better throughout the covid crisis than those who failed to exploit their differentiators. This is because people don’t have relationships with products; they are, however, loyal to brands.

An ever-growing school of thought insists that brand is essentially more important than any product or service. There are several reasons for this, the first and most obvious being that brands are immortal, products date. Brands build communities, inspire ideas and motivate change at a time when one-dimensional products are struggling to satisfy the demands of a technology-driven, global communication society.

Secondly, increased internet access in developing countries and a boom in e-commerce and online business practice have opened new geographical markets. A blossoming middle class across Asia, Africa, and South America is increasing competition for relevant brand names, keywords and descriptors in multiple languages, but mainly English. These are large population countries with enthusiastic audiences and a wealth of opportunity for hungry, new entrepreneurs driven by the need for change. Increased competition drives up the value of existing brands while forcing new brands to be more creative in defining their brand identities, value propositions and other brand assets.

So

In this maelstrom, the challenge of brand performance management continues to be a demanding one that requires highly experienced professional partners and a complex multi-discipline strategy to deliver.

The hard truth is simply that great products, branding and advertising are simply not enough to differentiate businesses in a climate of intense competition for the attention of today’s discerning buyers. They want brands to be more than just product or service providers. They want them to be community builders, problem solvers and allies for change. They want human experiences with technology-driven efficiency, which meet them halfway – after all, attention is currency. If you want them to spend it on your brand, then you must return on that investment with something of value. Because in this world, where time is at a premium, that is essentially what attention is – an investment.

Changing buyer behaviour highlights how brands can potentially be worth more than all the other assets of the company combined – many of which depreciate in a way that brand doesn’t. Brand valuations can be complex to ascertain, but experts report that the share of brand value across industry segments can equate to around 40%, on average, of a company’s value. Not a percentage to ignore.  

Brand is no longer just nice to have. It’s a long-term investment which can pay for itself – if you look after it. If you want to know more about how your brand is performing, please contact us to find out more about how our brand audit service can reveal opportunities for improving your brand position and value.

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Assets at Risk: the challenge of social posting in hostile environment operations.

Assets at Risk: the challenge of social posting in hostile environment operations.

Concerns about safety and social media are not exactly strange bedfellows. Every day we are bombarded with information on how to protect ourselves and our privacy online but how often do we stop to wonder if we might unthinkingly be sharing information that could put others at risk?

How often do we read between the lines, to see what is NOT being said? And do we respect that decision?

Last week, a client working in a high-risk area posted a photo showing a close-up of their product in use. The photo was taken with care. Every effort was made to ensure the platform’s anonymity and location. The headlining comment cautiously stated the location on a continental basis. Neither the platform, country, project or the operator was named; a carefully planned, pre-agreed comms strategy to allow the business in question to keep people updated with products and services while protecting the lives of those on the ground in an unquestionably hostile area. That evening, a comment popped up in the feed – ‘Hey, that’s the [inserts platform name] in [Inserts country]. I just came back from there not long ago”. A conversation around the asset in question develops with a colleague; the logistics of getting there, the remoteness of the location, the terrible weather at that time. All information, publically shared.

Inadvertently, in just seven words and a little chit-chat, a carefully managed communication strategy is destroyed. Onboard and transitioning crews may be endangered and somewhere far away, security teams could be scrambling to respond to an upgraded threat level.

As soon as the post was spotted, the comment was removed and thankfully, to date, no lives were lost in this instance.

However, the ongoing kidnapping of oil workers in Africa and South America continues to underscore the need for extreme care in some of the world’s high-value production zones. Millions are spent protecting the locations, project schedules and roster changes and yet, it appears that the greatest threat to safeguarding assets and the life of remote workers, may come from the well-meaning support of an engaged online community that fails to understand the risks of posting key information in their commentary.

This has been an ongoing challenge from a communications perspective and I doubt I am alone here. As a digital marketer, an engaged community is rarely a bad thing and followers that care enough to engage and comment on posts – priceless. This post is not meant to discourage comments. Interaction is always good, but a little mindfulness in our online commentary could save lives in these types of situations. this presents the question of how we can best engage with active social users to encourage better consider of not just WHAT is – or is not – being said but also to take a few seconds to wonder WHY.

On the back of these discussions, we have been brainstorming ways to address the balance of protection and promotion. Some of the suggestions we are considering to allow continued posting, where there may be a degree of commercial sensitivity or physical safety issues include:

  1. Educating followers by beginning posts with notice – i,e “Company identity and location withheld to protect life and safety of assets”.
  2. Consider the use of stock photography where possible to reduce the potential for id or information disclosure. This does raise the question of post validity of course but that’s a question for another day.
  3. If necessary, restrict or turn off comments on sensitive posts to prevent wider discussion.

If you or your company has experienced something similar, I would be keen to hear how you are approaching this challenge. Even with everything we know about social and how it works, the human inclinations of users continue to present new challenges. Every day is indeed a school day 🙂