As of 2018, Apple’s brand is valued at over $182b. Apple’s brand value is measured on how effectively the business engages with customers. It’s measured on intangible stuff missing from the balance sheet, such as values, promises and culture. The power of the Apple brand continues to attract a loyal following: the Apple ‘tribe’. Placing the brand at the heart of the organisation allows Apple to innovate, differentiate and compete. When all others ‘zig’, Apple ‘zags’.

We all demonstrate loyalty to retail brands and buy from them time and time again. But why are we attracted to the latest Apple device, a BrewDog beer or a particular brand of coffee?

Traditional USPs and product/service benefits are no longer enough to persuade a sophisticated and informed customer to buy. Customers need more. Customers need to feel rewarded and be part of something bigger. Customers need to identify with brands that will provide an enhanced experience. We call this magical stuff, ‘brand essence’.

True brand essence is found in the core culture and values of every organisation – B2B and B2C. It’s the relationship with our customers. It’s how you reply to emails and how you answer the phone. It’s the passion and expertise of your people. It’s the independent coffee shop that offers you a free cake on your birthday. It’s the way a company stands up for a cause they believe in.

Branding can be confused with products, logos and mission statements. These are just the outputs that are built on a brand foundation. By focusing only on the ‘business’ (what you do and what you produce) and ignoring the ‘brand’ (creativity, innovation and what you stand for) you could be failing to compete and differentiate.

Every business has valuable brand essence. Sometimes you just have to look in the right places. To begin the journey, ask yourself some simple questions:

  • What do you do?
  • What is delivering success?
  • Why should your customers care?
  • Who shares the brandscape and how do you compete?
  • Why do people buy from you – who are your tribe?
  • What will deliver success in the future?
  • What is your long-term vision and goals?
  • What do you stand for?

Congratulations, by addressing above you are already well on your way. Of course, if you need support with finding your ‘brand zag’, the brand shapers at Hampton are more than happy to help and join you on your journey.