In today’s environment of new technologies and even newer social media platforms, it’s easy to lose sight of marketing fundamentals. However, if marketers are to respond competitively to the challenges presented by social media, it’s helpful to start with an appreciation of the value that a strong brand offers to a business.
A brand is the unique meaning wrapped around a product, service or entity. The more unique the meaning, the better able the brand is to defend against competitors in any media environment. The well-differentiated brand holds a powerful influence over consumer decision-making: four out of five consumers say that brand alone is an important purchasing determinant, according to BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity database.
At the heart of every well-managed brand is the idea – a statement that captures all that a brand stands for. Dove stands for “real beauty”; De Beers and its diamonds are “the ultimate symbol of love;” Shell represents “creative energy;” Coca-Cola is “happiness.” A clearly articulated brand idea helps with more than just communication; it forces a company make tough choices about where to focus its resources and what to innovate against.
A strong brand is also proven to deliver hard financial returns. BrandZ’s portfolio of the world’s strongest global brands well outperformed the S&P 500 over the past six years, increasing in value by 46.3 percent. These brands have acted as insulators, buffering corporations against the past few years of recessionary pressures, according to Peter Walshe, global BrandZ director of Millward Brown.
Armed with a well-defined brand, marketers should be more than ready to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by social media. In my next post, I’ll look at a few of the reasons why social media continues to be a golden opportunity for marketers.