“Brand equity” refers to the value of a brand as determined by consumer perception of the brand name attached to a product or service, rather than the product or service itself. It’s the reason why Hugo Boss can charge $95 for a t-shirt style that goes for $28 at American Apparel, and why people are willing to pay nearly twice the price of an average bottle of water for Fiji. But how is one to harness their brand to be an influential force that drives brand equity? If this question causes you concern, fear not. We’ve outlined a few ways strategic branding can boost brand equity and increase sales, allowing your company to impact a larger audience realize its fullest potential.
1. The Packaging
Fundamentally, humans are sensory animals, and our sight and touch play a huge role in the way we judge products that we buy (“oooh shiny!”). In highly saturated markets especially, a thoughtfully crafted package design can be a substantial differentiator that makes one brand rise above the rest in the collective consumer consciousness. Take lip balm producer EOS, for example: entering the lip balm industry meant competing with massive, multinational corporations, in addition to over 200 smaller, independent brands receiving less than 1% market share a piece. However, by leveraging their unique, spherical design (and quality product) throughout their marketing campaigns, EOS was able to capture a substantial 2.5% share in their market. Granted, the campaign itself was well run, utilizing a number of different advertising streams including print and digital ads, social media, and PR efforts. One aspect all these ads had in common, however, was placing the product’s beautifully packaged design at the forefront.
Your top-quality product may be the next game-changer in your industry, but without the right packaging design, you’ll likely be drowned out in the rest of the noise competing for consumer attention. Package your superior product with the superior design it deserves, and watch your target audience flock to your brand.
2. Monitoring and Analyzing the Market
With the expansion of big data facilitated by the ubiquity of the Internet and social media, brands have access to more information about their target market than ever. If you aren’t listening to your consumers and tracking their changing preferences, you will be left in the dust by competitors who are using these statistics to their advantage. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) had been struggling with site traffic and conversions on their website when they began implementing Google Analytics to better understand their audience. They were suddenly able to track the performance of their shows online and make dynamic adjustments for improvement within their online offerings. The results: 30% increase in both traffic AND conversions for the PBS website.Additionally, using analytics, you can identify your brand advocates by filtering social mentions by positive sentiment. Once you know your fans, build brand loyalty by offering special promotions and giveaways to these organic brand ambassadors. If they’ve shared your products with their friends on social media in the past, they’ll share about your generosity as well. This cultivates a positive public image of your brand and leads to the acquisition of new consumers through word-of-mouth awareness.
But the data doesn’t stop there, as this practice has also shown to have substantial impact with respect to B2B relationships as well. Electronics giant Dell successfully implemented Lattice Engines’ analytics software to determine how to most effectively distribute their products to outlets and companies. For example, the marketing team noticed a sales increase in small business products when companies sign a new office lease. The analytics software was able to then prioritize prospects based on pulling information regarding new office leases, LinkedIn announcements, Web site information, public statements, etc. Implementation of the Lattice Engine software has allowed Dell’s European marketing department to cut the number of leads to the sales organization by 50% in 2012 so only the most promising prospects were targeted. Cynthia Gumbert, director of customer relationship management, stated that the sales productivity increased by nearly 100%.
The findings couldn’t be more conclusive: start monitoring and analyzing the brand’s target market to optimize your business strategy, or be left in the dust by the competition.
3. Connecting with a Cause
Does your brand stand for anything beyond the product or service you offer? Millward Brown’s “BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands” 2015 report shows that consumers overwhelmingly prefer brands that align themselves with social causes. A staggering 89% of U.S. consumers reported that they would be inclined to switch brands to one associated with a cause (given comparable price and quality). Even more compelling, 42% of North American respondents reported they would pay a premium on products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. A Nielsen report on the topic showed that, on average, brands that included sustainability claims on packaging witnessed annual sales increases of 2%, and brands promoting sustainability through marketing programs experienced sales increases of 5%. By comparison, brands with no links to social/environmental causes saw a mere 1% annual sales growth. Brands like Warby Parker and Tom’s Shoes have been enormously successful in capturing market share through implementing social responsibility messages into their brand identity.
Approaching this from a place of authenticity, think about ways your brand can have a real societal impact. Your target market will appreciate it more than anyone, and you can sleep easy at night knowing that your company is promoting good around the world.
These are just a few ways branding and/or rebranding can boost your brand equity and create new opportunities for capturing a greater share of your market. Stay tuned on our latest blogs to get more strategic tips on developing your brand to drive sales and Capture, Compel, and Close.