The largest companies around the world recognize the most valued asset in their brand. Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Toyota or Mercedes-Benz have values between $59 billion and $263 billion. The value of these brands accounts for more than a quarter of their market capitalization. Logically, investing in this type of company represents a lower risk. Why? That’s because strong brands boost sales, improve margins, and reduce cash flow volatility for their owners. It is clear then that Branding, as responsible for brand management, is a powerful risk management tool for both companies and their investors.

And where does all this value come from? It comes from the very meaning of the brand which, aligned with the business strategy, is able to provide a clear direction for the company’s decision-making. But let’s not forget that the ultimate power of brands lies in the fact that, for millions of consumers, they have acquired meaning deep in their minds. A senior executive at Harley Davidson once said that they don’t sell motorcycles, but the ability for a 43-year-old gray accountant to dress in black leather and drive around getting people’s attention. This wealth of meanings is stored in long-term memory and guides our decisions when we shop, choose a place to work, invest, etc. In other words, brands generate value for companies through higher capitalization, better margins, or gaining greater market share through their power to influence individual choices.

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Despite this, problems arise when we broaden the focus from brands to the process of creating and managing them (Branding). To make it clear once again, a brand is more than just a logo, it’s a meaning that makes it easier to understand why people should choose and buy it. However, we see it time and time again: many startups relegate the brand in the initial phase, thus limiting its growth.

In addition, a brand is a living thing, which grows and changes over time. The challenge is how to reimagine its future to renew its value proposition and adapt it to new environments. Even big brands with big budgets have made disastrous rebranding mistakes that have cost them a lot of money.

Unfortunately, there are still many who believe that intuition, marketing or good design are enough. A senior executive at a major company lamented: “If we invest €300 million in a new plant, I get so many reports that they don’t fit on my desk. However, if I invested the same amount in a global branding project, I would only get a couple of sheets of paper on my new advertising and media campaign.”

The truth is that many believe they have a brand, but not everyone achieves it and achieves only a logo. Along the way, at least try to avoid these mistakes:

5 MISTAKES TO AVOID IN BRAND BUILDING

  1. Having a confusing idea of what a brand is

A brand is what others think you are. An informed perception of how they see you, what feelings you awaken inside them and what they say about you. In your business, nothing is more important than your brand, because it is precisely what defines you and encapsulates your very essence. It is, therefore, the main reason why they will choose you over the competition. A logo is only an element of visual representation.

  1. Separate it from business decisions

A business-based approach to brand management is necessary, which involves using it to drive company culture, operations, and customer (and employee) experiences. The business-aligned brand thus represents the central idea of the organization and operation of the company – in fact, the brand is the business. Therefore, at the corporate level, the person most responsible for the brand is the CEO or the General Manager.

  1. Believing that positioning is a slogan

Brands that differentiate themselves prioritize the intangible over the tangible, the emotional over the functional, and the “why” over the “what.” Focusing on services, capabilities, and features that the company offers rather than on its deeper purpose is a big mistake. While a slogan can be a great synthesis of a branding strategy, on its own it’s not enough to create widespread brand awareness and recognition.

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  1. Treating Brands as Abstract Entities

There is no brand until it earns the right to have an open and honest relationship with customers, even with society. This is the way to build trust without which it will be impossible to survive. The idea of “brand” thus focuses on a whole constellation of feelings that a company can generate in people, far beyond the functionality of its products. At its core, branding implies a process of humanization, imbuing companies with personalities. We must instill humanity in business if we want to build relationships.

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  1. Failure to protect and defend the brand

Every trademark must be adequately protected, even if it is not required by law. Mistakes in this regard can become great opportunities for others. Make sure you protect the intellectual property of your brands from imitations and all kinds of infringements against your patents, design rights (copyright) or trade dress. Not only will you be preserving the loss of revenue, but also the image, reputation, and overall value of the brand.

Building a strong brand is challenging and must be approached with a well-defined strategy. On this complex path, branding does not fail, but those responsible for carrying it out. At least these pitfalls (and others) can be avoided to ensure that in the future we do not fall into the mistakes of the past.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó
CEO of Branward