July 11th, 2014
To ask when branding matters is to ask when breathing matters: always. What matters and what happens are too often unrelated. If branding were understood and valued in C-suites and corporate boards, nobody would ever question its critical importance. Alas, such is not the case.
NOTE: A brand is neither logo nor jargon-filled, functional product description (no matter how many times you speak, post, or tweet it). People do not buy products; people do not buy technologies. To learn more, read Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
Unenlightened CEOs posit similar excuses for deprioritizing branding — in both good and bad economies. In bad economies, they exclaim, resources are too scarce to waste on fluff. In good economies, customers magically appear; so, why bother? Seriously, they say this.
In fact, branding matters and is mandatory — always.
As we see in the graphic below, good economies spur more competition, begetting more white noise, making it harder for each competitor to stand out — and making it more difficult for customers to choose one of them, even though the propensity to purchase is high. Because competitors tend to resemble and copy each other, their products and services become indistinguishable commodities.
Good-Economy Solution: razor-sharp branding (unique, jargon-free value proposition).
In bad economies, when the propensity to purchase is lower, competitors are faced with stagnation and price wars (low number of competitors) or consolidation and price wars (high number of competitors). The consolidation in the legal field is an excellent example: clients have the power to play one look-alike firm off the other for reduced fees.
Bad-Economy Solution: razor-sharp branding (unique, jargon-free value proposition).
If you’re a CEO who believes branding is a postponable, low-priority, or optional luxury, now is the time to change your position. Accordingly, if you’re a board member whose CEO elects to postpone, downplay, or ignore branding, now is the time to reverse this policy.
Would you ever deem breathing a postponable, low-priority, or optional luxury?
Branding, like breathing, matters always — but only if you want to beat your competitors, retain your customers, and increase your profitability. What will you do now?
POSTSCRIPT #1: Entrepreneurship in Jeopardy: More American Business Deaths Than Births
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.
© 2014 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.