The Importance of Building Your Company’s Brand
Probably not, but I bet you’ll recognize their new names. They are prime examples of Fortune 500 companies that recognized that successful name branding is a serious subject in the development of a business.
Having a unique product or service that either creates a trend or takes advantage of one, is certainly a key factor in starting any venture, but branding your company name and building on that brand should be very high on the “To Do” list as you pour the foundation for your business.
In the short run, branding is about creating an awareness of your business. In the long run, it’s the promise you make to your customers and employees that you stand for something. It’s the reason people do, or do not, become customers for a lifetime.
Today’s customers are more wired, better informed and shop with higher expectations than any time in history. Brand matters to them. They want to be associated with the “best,” and if your company’s brand is not mentioned in that category, you are limiting the possibilities for growth.
What’s in a Name?
Building a successful brand is an evolutionary process that takes two things companies don’t like to part with: time and money. It often includes some uncomfortable stumbles along the way, as companies battle to gain recognition in the marketplace while simultaneously trying to build brand loyalty.
The process typically begins with the company name. There are literally thousands of tips on what goes into choosing the right one, but the truth of the matter is you’re really lucky to get it right the first time. The name you start with is seldom where you end. The companies mentioned above are perfect examples of that. BackRub was the original company name for Google. Blue Ribbon Sports developed into Nike. Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation became IBM.
Changing names obviously worked out in all three cases, and that’s normal. A check of other Fortune 500 companies shows that often it takes several changes before companies feel confident enough to brand the name.
Once you get there, it’s not the company name, but how you define the company name that matters with branding. What do you stand for? What is it you do better than anyone else? What is your customer’s perception when they hear your company’s name? How do they feel about the quality of your product or the experience they will have with your service?
Get Some Feedback
Generating positive responses to all of those questions is essential to building brand loyalty. You hope the feedback comes from your customers, but it’s almost as vital to have positive answers from non-customers, too. Not everyone can afford a Rolex, but the brand name is so good that everyone – customers and non-customers – agree that if they could afford it, Rolex would be their watch of choice.
The obvious benefit from brand loyalty is that your customers will spend their money on your product or service. There are other, less obvious reasons that make building your brand important to your future, including:
- The better your brand name, the more you can charge for your product. Disney World has an impeccable brand name. That’s why they can charge twice as much for a ticket as they did 10 years ago … and have more visitors than ever!
- Online shopping is surging, the world over. Consumers in China, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and other foreign countries are shopping for American goods online, and they’re looking for brand names.
- Businesses that have successfully branded their names can use the trust they’ve built to introduce new products. Nike built its reputation on running shoes and used that over the last decade to emerge as a force in equipment and apparel sales for all sports, especially golf and soccer.
- Branding helps companies get through downturns in business or slow economic times. IBM dominated the computer market in the 1970s and ’80s, then watched Microsoft and Apple surge past it. IBM survived and is re-emerging as a force.
Successful branding can help your company, even if you’re only competing on a regional or local basis. Having a good brand name within your industry can help you attract employees or even motivate the ones you have to perform at a higher level.
The problem many companies have is committing to the branding process. It can be expensive and take decades, especially if you’re trying to compete in the national market. Nike gave away a lot of shoes, T-shirts and golf balls and paid a lot of endorsement money to thousands of athletes, including Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, but it got a return.
The Nike brand is recognized around the world for setting the standard of excellence in athletic footwear, equipment and apparel.
How many companies are willing to compete on that level?
Bill Fay writes and blogs for Debt.org. He is an award-winning writer with more than two decades of experience in the areas of news, sports and public policy.