Building Brand Equity
A brand is not just a logo or a trademark. A brand is the accumulation of all the touch points your brand has with your current and potentially new customers.
By: Alex Valderrama, CEO and Brand Strategist at Cranium Agency
Many years ago, I worked as a phlebotomist at a major medical center while I attended design school. Little did I know at the time I would be a part of a major branding effort by the hospital’s laboratory. Let me explain. When I was hired, we had several requirements we needed to abide by such as speaking in a professional caring way, always to dress in black slacks, wear a belt, and a light button up dress shirt. And more importantly, our lab coats had to be ironed and very clean. I was told that when we entered the patient’s room to collect blood samples; we were representing the “laboratory” of the hospital and our contact with the patient was most likely the only contact and brand association they would have with the laboratory. I quickly learned how much patients respected the laboratory, our visits to their hospital rooms, and the importance of good representation. Every single touch point created positive associations with the patient and the brand name “laboratory”.
Creating brand equity with strong brand awareness
After graduating design school and starting my company, I became a student of branding; its principles, and I clearly understood the importance of building brand equity and loyalty as it directly affects a company’s brand perception. As I reflect to my early days of representing the laboratory, I can not get over how similar my responsibility as a Phlebotomist was the same as the responsibility that many people have in representing their company–and how important it is to have a strong brand impression that supports the company in its efforts to build positive brand equity and brand loyalty.
Developing a strong brand strategy can be one of the most difficult steps in the marketing plan process. It is often the individual brand element that causes the biggest challenge to most businesses, but it is an integral step in creating the company brand identity. We compel our clients to wrestle with what their organization truly stands for and what makes them valuable to their customers. Through several workshops, we ask them to think about who they are today, what it is their perceived value to their customers, what kind of brand value do they provide, who they aspire to be, and many more questions designed to create a strong brand image.
Once these questions are answered and a clear picture of the company’s brand identity is established, we can then move on to developing a brand strategy. This involves determining the company’s target audience and creating a clear message that resonates with that audience. It also involves deciding on the company’s positioning in the marketplace and developing a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets them apart from competitors.
Another important aspect of developing a brand equity model is creating a brand architecture and creating a strong brand management plan. This involves determining how the brand will be structured and organized, including product lines, sub-brands, and brand extensions. It also involves developing guidelines for how the brand will be presented visually, including the use of logos, colors, and typography.
Developing a strong brand strategy is essential for any business looking to create a strong brand identity and stand out in a competitive marketplace. By taking the time to carefully define their brand identity and develop a clear brand strategy, businesses can establish a strong presence in their industry and build long-lasting relationships with their customers, at every touch point at a time.
Finally, as mentioned before, a brand is not just a logo or a trademark. A brand is the accumulation of all the touch points your brand has with your current and potential new customers. This means that every point of contact with customers, partners and suppliers are essential to building those lasting impressions–from the way you answer the phone to individual sales activities. It is important to deliver the right message and stay consistent to achieve your business, branding, sales, and marketing goals.