What's the Promotional Value of Your Brand
A report released last week by global brand assessment agency Brand Finance records Ferrari as the world's "strongest" brand. The report divides brands into two basic categories: the world's "strongest" and the world's "most valuable". Apple was declared the world's most valuable brand. The report claims Ferrari deserves top honour because of the fervent devotion fans hold for it which they believe transcends normal commercial considerations.
This seems a rather unusual way to declare a brand the world's best. Ferrari is only intermittently profitable, produces a product which has as many detractors as it does fans, the great majority of whom will never likely sit in a Ferrari let alone own or have the opportunity to drive. In this respect it appears to us that Ferrari is a brand similar to "heaven". People hold a high opinion of its value and daydream about it a lot but have no little engagement. It's chief attribute appears to be the positioning statement favoured by many "luxury" brands : "So exclusive, you will never have one".
Consider your own brand in the terms framed by the company said to be the leading international consultancy for assessing value. While most of us are required to comply with the tedious necessity of making a profit many companies have never considered the promotional value of their brand. What additional value can be added incrementally to the existing consumer perceptions of your brand and how can they be leveraged to benefit the bottom line?
Looking rationally at the process used by Brand Finance to compile its list of "strongest" and "most valuable" brands causes us to ask ourselves the question; 'in what layers of brand image is our marketing activity settling? Are we creating layers of "value" which can be tapped by the market and which the company can monetise?". Without the international media doing what they can to increase the awareness of your logo amongst itinerant goat herders in Central Asia it's unlikely your company can afford to misdirect it's marketing budget towards creating impressions amongst people who will not and cannot buy your output.
In other words, would you rather be Ferrari or Apple?
The solution to this age-old promotional battle is targeting. To make sure your company is reflecting the needs of its market and that first and foremost the impressions of buyers and regular customers are considered in marketing and promotion. And is there a better way to do this than personalising the message using promotional products?
When you're trying to build the awareness and value of your brand it's important to conserve your energy. It doesn't matter that somebody somewhere who will never do business with you has a positive attitude towards your company. Obviously this is better than the alternative of having a negative attitude towards you, however you also need to look at the opportunity cost. What company assets, values or finances have been expended creating an impression with people outside your marketing sphere? How much of our activity makes our brand "stronger" but does nothing for its "value"?
It's easy to rationalise that promotional activity is contributing some intangible value to the overall worth of your company. Measurement and assessment of any program is critical to marketing management and all the research shows a well chosen promotional product handed to the right person is a proven way to stimulate action, not just pleasant thoughts or daydreams.