July 8th, 2013
Branding Is Necessity, Not Luxury
Is your sales cycle — the time from identifying a prospect to closing the deal — one year or greater? If so, you have a costly sales cycle: lots of calls, emails, faxes, overnighted parcels, face-to-face meetings, group teleconferences, spinning your wheels, and insanity.
Have you asked yourself why it takes your company at least 12 months to close a sale? Any CEO worth his salt has pondered this challenge. Perhaps your product is uncompetitive, or you employ an ineffective salesforce or channel. But, without knowing you or your company, I’ll give you a key reason for this unnecessarily high cost of sales: your brand is weak.
In “Always Be Branding,” I listed five excuses CEOs commonly give for avoiding or delaying branding activity. Newsflash: brand dictates cost of sales — regardless of a company’s size, age, or industry! Branding is necessity, not luxury.
Time Is the Brand’s Enemy
A strong brand is a unique articulation of a company’s value proposition (AKA its marketing message, its raison d’être, its barcode, its opening statement). It elicits emotions, always, regardless of a company’s size, age, or industry, and is expressed succinctly and memorably in customer-centric language.
Time is the brand’s enemy: the longer it takes to explain a value proposition, the less value it has; the more it contains generic, product-centric language, ditto that. Consequently, the longer it takes people to remember and repeat a brand, if they do, the higher its cost. As we see in the hourglass metaphor below: more sand spilled, more brand killed. Every CEO must heed this maxim: Weak brand wastes time and maximizes cost of sales.
Customers, investors, and reporters easily, quickly, and willingly react to, remember, and repeat a strong brand, represented at the apex of the messaging pyramid below. At this apex — where you ought to live — the sales cycle is short, the cost of sales low.
A strong brand gets to the point (pun intended), fast. A weak brand never gets to the point and lives in the cold basement. Intuitive, is it not? No spreadsheets required.
Rx from the WhiteNoise Doctor™
You have a choice: invest in a strong brand, today, or keep wasting cash on an oversized salesforce and unfathomable, unmemorable ads.
We all remember our parents yelling at us for leaving the front door open in December: “I’m not paying to heat the whole city.” They didn’t want to waste cash. Cause and effect.
If your sales cycle approaches or exceeds one year, you’re wasting cash with a weak brand. Cause and effect. Will you continue?
Brand dictates cost of sales, high and low. Keeping a weak brand is akin to leaving open the front door in December: it wastes cash. Do you want to explain life at the bottom of the pyramid at your next board meeting? I didn’t think so.
If, however, you’d rather explain life at the top of the pyramid, where you’ll be closing more sales in less time, get to the point — fast.
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2013 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.