Your brand has value. How much, you might not be sure, and where it comes from, you’re even less sure.
The value of a brand is usually associated with the products, people, and reputation surrounding it. Let’s look at it differently, from an inside-outside perspective. Let’s consider that brands have different value internally and externally, and that those two values create the overall value of your brand.
When we think of value for a brand, we are generally thinking of its external value. Determining your external value requires you to consider how your brand is considered and experienced by your customer.
- Is your brand someone’s habit? If people haven’t made you or your product a habitual part of their life, they’ll easily fall away. Inroads can always be made, habits changed, but most of us, when comfortable with our habits, make the default non-decisions every day and stick with what we know.
- Is your brand going to appreciate? What we make or do has a shelf life. Trendiness has an immediate and explosive value, but it falls as hard as it rises. It depreciates. Timeless brands require extreme work and patience to maintain value, but can hold it in the long run. Your brand might be trendy, timeless, or have a mix of both. Its value will change over time.
- Does your brand create emotional attachments? People are fiercely loyal to brands. From Coca-Cola to Apple, casual users eventually become die-hard fans. Whether it’s from nostalgia, exclusivity, or some other reason, brands that create emotional attachments have value beyond mere product or service. People especially want brands that stand for something — principles, quality, giving back — something that lets them feel like they are doing good just by buying into your brand.
Brands that are valued internally are businesses where the workers actually want to work. They don’t want to be anywhere else. They’re glad to part of it, and they bring their best game each day. How do you know what your brand’s internal value is?
- Does your brand stand for values or shareholder bottom line? Workers who know they are just workers only work. They don’t contribute, create, or ever get past “that’s not in my job description” thinking. We all want to be part of a greater cause rather than just another cog in a money-making wheel. Values lead to value.
- Does your brand have a flexible and unique identity? Being part of a group is a natural desire for people. Identifying with a group — in this case, your brand — creates loyalty. It also helps everyone one to get on the same page and prevent fracturing. Make sure your brand has an identity employees can get behind. Ask them if they can tell you what the identity is.
- Does your brand expect excellent work and then reward it? Not all employers actually expect excellent work. Some are happy with any work. Your brand must demand excellence (this is linked to the external value, the product or service), but it also must reward that work fairly.
Brands can be diluted. They can lose value. We can squander an emotional attachment by letting quality control slip and allowing another brand an inroad when customers feel annoyed or cheated. We can have our external value eaten away by refusing to develop internal value, causing our employees to change from being an asset to being a liability.
Valuable brands, internally and externally, tap into how people feel. Loyalty, happiness, good causes, charity, exclusivity, beautiful, acceptance, loved, courageous — answer these emotions, and your brand’s value will grow.