When considering the essence of a brand, Towan Isom of Brand Boss says there are five foundational elements of marketing: experience, evolution, memory, impact and design. The below is taken from a Q&A session facilitated by SBA T.H.R.I.V.E. that our founder, Zach Huntting, was part of on October 4th, 2023.

Experience: From a marketing perspective, a brand is an experience. It's the sum of every touchpoint where a customer interacts with your brand. Think about online interactions, in-store visits, and customer service encounters. The entire brand experience should be cohesive, whether it's the website's user-friendliness, the checkout process's simplicity, or the post-purchase follow-up. Brands like Lush Cosmetics and Chick-fil-A excel in crafting experiences. It's crucial to evaluate how your brand resonates with customers at every interaction point.

Evolution: The brand's journey and story contribute significantly to its identity. Consider Beyoncé: her evolution from a child artist to a global icon has captivated many. Similarly, the history and development of your brand, evidenced by old photos or memorable moments, can create compelling narratives. Such evolutionary tales establish a connection with the audience, making them feel invested in your brand's journey.

Memory: The ability to imprint your brand in a customer's mind is invaluable. Keeping your brand top-of-mind is a challenge, and creating memorable engagements is key. Brands should consistently engage and captivate their audience. Consider the memorable experiences brands like REI craft for their customers. Ensuring your brand remains memorable and top-of-mind requires strategic planning and continuous engagement.

Impact: Assess the impact your brand has on its customers and the broader community. Is your brand alleviating a pain point or enhancing the quality of life? Are you making a broader positive impact on society, like sponsoring community programs or advocating for change? Such impactful actions can foster loyalty and affinity towards your brand.

Design & Creativity: Many mistakenly start with design when crafting a brand. Instead, design should culminate from the aforementioned elements. A brand's design and creativity should echo its story, experience, and values. While an aesthetically pleasing design is essential, it's equally crucial to have clear and compelling messaging. Branding guidelines, outlining everything from color palettes to image usage, ensure consistency across all brand elements.

Creating a great brand offers numerous tangible benefits to businesses, although it can be challenging to quantify its value with precise dollar amounts due to its multifaceted nature. However, here are some key points and statistics that illustrate the value of a strong brand:

Higher Revenue
According to Interbrand's Best Global Brands report, companies with strong brands consistently outperform those with weaker ones. The report suggests that strong brands tend to achieve higher revenue growth rates.

Premium Pricing
A strong brand allows businesses to command premium prices for their products or services. Consumers are often willing to pay more for products associated with trusted and reputable brands.

Customer Loyalty
A study by Brand Keys found that loyal customers are 11 times more likely to make repeat purchases from a brand than non-loyal customers. This demonstrates the long-term value of brand loyalty.

Reduced Marketing Costs:
Established brands often require less spending on marketing and advertising because they already have brand recognition and customer trust. This can lead to significant cost savings.

Competitive Advantage:
Brands differentiate businesses in competitive markets. A strong brand helps companies stand out, potentially capturing a larger market share.

Partnerships and Collaborations:
Well-known brands are more attractive to potential partners and collaborators. This can lead to beneficial alliances that drive growth and revenue.

Employee Engagement and Productivity:
A strong brand can enhance employee morale and attract top talent. Engaged and motivated employees tend to be more productive, leading to improved business performance.

Stock Performance
Brand strength can positively influence stock performance. According to a report by Millward Brown and WPP, strong brands tend to have higher stock price growth than weaker ones.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Businesses with strong brands often have lower CAC because their reputation attracts customers organically and through referrals, reducing the need for costly acquisition efforts.

Crisis Resilience
Strong brands are more resilient in times of crisis. A trusted brand is more likely to weather negative events with less severe financial repercussions.
While these points demonstrate the significant value of a strong brand, it's important to note that the specific dollar amounts and statistics can vary widely depending on the industry, market, and individual business. Building and maintaining a great brand requires ongoing investment in brand strategy, marketing, and customer experience, but the returns on this investment can be substantial and long-lasting.

What makes a strong brand?

A strong brand possesses several key characteristics that set it apart and make it successful. Here are the essential elements that contribute to the strength of a brand:

Clarity and Consistency: A strong brand has a clear and consistent identity, messaging, and visual representation across all touchpoints, from logo and marketing materials to customer interactions.

Authenticity: Authenticity is crucial. Customers trust brands that are honest and true to their values. Authenticity helps build long-lasting relationships with consumers.

Unique Value Proposition (UVP): A strong brand offers a unique value proposition that sets it apart from competitors. It clearly communicates why customers should choose it over alternatives.

Emotional Connection: Great brands evoke emotions and connect with their audience on a personal level. This emotional connection leads to brand loyalty and advocacy.

Relevance: Strong brands stay relevant to their target audience by continuously adapting to changing market trends, customer preferences, and technological advancements.

Quality and Reliability: Consistently delivering high-quality products or services builds trust and credibility. A strong brand is associated with reliability and excellence.

Memorability: A strong brand is memorable. It leaves a lasting impression in the minds of customers, making them more likely to recall and choose it when making purchase decisions.

Storytelling: Effective storytelling humanizes the brand and helps customers relate to its values, mission, and history. A compelling brand narrative can make a brand more appealing and relatable.

Customer Experience: Exceptional customer experiences, from the first interaction to post-purchase support, contribute to a strong brand. Positive experiences lead to brand advocacy.

Flexibility: While consistency is crucial, strong brands can adapt and evolve without losing their core identity. They can remain relevant in changing markets.

Community and Engagement: Building a community of loyal customers and actively engaging with them through social media, events, and other channels fosters brand loyalty and advocacy.

Transparency: Openness and transparency in business practices, pricing, and communication build trust and credibility with consumers.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility: Many modern consumers value brands that are socially responsible and environmentally conscious. Demonstrating commitment to sustainability can strengthen a brand's image.

Market Positioning: A strong brand understands its position in the market and tailors its strategies accordingly, whether it's a premium, value, or niche brand.

Consistent Brand Management: Brand guidelines and management ensure that the brand is consistently represented and protected against dilution or misrepresentation.

Creating and maintaining a strong brand is an ongoing process that requires strategic planning, commitment, and attention to detail. Successful brands continuously assess their performance, gather customer feedback, and adapt to the changing landscape to remain relevant and competitive.
At CROWN, we have a proprietary workshop-based program that leads to branding that attracts the right audience, signals the intended virtues, and facilitates stakeholder buy-in.