In today’s price sensitive, highly competitive market, we are seeing more and more knee-jerk reactions from businesses hoping that quick-fix solutions will drive long-term growth and buy the loyalty of a complicated, often disillusioned market.
The problem with this is that the long-term vision is lost and growth spikes quickly but plummets just as fast. When businesses begin to stick in short-term plugs, they lose track of who they are, what they stand for and where they are heading. It’s a schizophrenic approach to marketing that will almost never see long-term exponential business growth.
At Shift Joe Public, we believe that when you use brand as a driver, businesses grow. It is simply understanding and utilising that value and the role the brand plays in business.
But what is brand?
It’s a common part of our advertising and marketing language, often bandied about, but few have actually outlined what “brand” really is, and it’s by fully comprehending a brand that you will understand its enormous, fundamental role toward the growth of any business.
Brand is business, but delivered in a human and connected way. It is not the badge displayed outside the building, it is also not the latest campaign or promotion. Yes all of these are critical for attraction and displaying distinction, and are all critical components of brand, but they are derived from the brand. A brand is an asset, it is the vehicle that delivers the businesses strategic objectives and imperatives. In order to create a logo or badge or campaign, a business must define its purpose (brand) first. It must define why it is in business, and not just for the sake of profit because profit will present itself when purpose is aligned to the business strategy.
This creates connection and connection is human, in fact it is fundamental for our survival. Every person reading this article is a thinking-feeling human, and we as humans, who are ultimately consumers, need something to believe in. We don’t just buy things, we buy into things – we seek connection that helps us deliver on our greater own purpose.
Price wars and competition is a never-ending battle, but if businesses want to survive, and not only survive but grow sustainably, they need to connect. That is the role of brand, making connections in order to deliver on the business objectives, being profit.
Brand informs your personality, communication, public relations, everything you want people to know, think and feel about you.
Brand also informs design, process, culture, research and developments, it attracts the right kind of people, it results in a product, services and offering. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” We believe this is true in business too, brand is considerably important not only to what you promise externally, but what is going on inside, and if the two are aligned, you have authenticity, something every consumer wants. Employer brand is critical for retention and attraction of the right people. Businesses want and need people who will deliver on the businesses objectives and purpose, by the right kind of positioning you will ultimately want to attract the person who feels that your purpose in some way fulfills their own.
All too often businesses are happy to only invest millions on a television campaign in order to drive sales, hoping for long-term returns. Whereas investment into the core of the brand, looking at the business model, strategic positioning, who you are and what you’re saying, is as critical. This is building business sustainably. When you create a consistent brand you are creating an asset, creating emotional connection, redefining the category and creating sustainable business growth. When you have created something people connect with and can buy into, you have created the one thing you’ve been trying to do since you first opened your doors – you have captured a devoted audience. That’s the power of brand.
Intentional, considered strategic and creative decisions are the deliberate steps toward building brands, and by building brands we are building something that is not easily shaken, swayed or unsettled. Brand is the catalyst that drives lasting, true growth both inside and outside a business. Brand is ultimately what we’re all in this business for.
We’ve seen it across a range of categories. Strong brands enhance business performance primarily through their influence on two key stakeholder groups: customers and employees. So when you as a business are looking for something that will drive your long-term sustainability, take a step back and look at things with a wider perspective in mind.
Yes, communication will drive sales, but it’s brand that will drive long-term and sustainable growth.
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Founded in 1998, Joe Public is the largest 100% independently owned communications group in the country with its core focus being the growth of its clients and people. Joe Public was rated by Finweek’s AdReview as the 2013 Agency of the Year and by The Annual as the Agencies’ Agency of the Year 2013. The group includes four specialised companies: Joe Public (Above-the-line), Ignite Joe Public (Below-the-line), Shift Joe Public (Brand Design), Engage Joe Public (Public Relations) and sister agency Joe Public? in Cape Town. The group has a global footprint into Namibia, Zimbabwe and Amsterdam.