Your Products Don’t Matter

Your brand’s value is not what you make or what you do. It’s certainly not your tagline. Your brand’s value is the net change your business catalyzes in your customer’s life—the purpose and goal of your products or services.

Through this lens, Tesla does not make cars, but rather energy efficient solutions. Waste Management does not pick up garbage, they create a better environment.  And CVS is not a pharmacy, they are a health company.

“Understanding your brand’s value—and acting on it—is the key
to remaining relevant in a rapidly changing world”

Understanding what your brand’s value is—and acting upon it—is the key to remaining relevant in a rapidly changing world and a powerful strategic tool to achieve success both within your organization and in the market.

Why is knowing your brand’s value important right now?

Because right now anyone can make anything

What you make is likely not unique—and if it is—not for long. People can learn how to make things on YouTube, use a 3D printer to prototype it and etsy to sell it. Such is the democratization of making.

Ideas and people are increasingly connected

The increasing affordability of mobile technology coupled with even better and better smartphones is accelerating the connection of people. That means brands must act consistently everywhere because people do talk—across markets and geographies.

There exists a generational compulsion to be unique

Millennials care about being unique (as perhaps evidenced by the ubiquity of tattoos in this group). They carefully curate their identities which extends to the things they buy. As such they care to know what a brand stands for and are loyal to those that act on their values.

This means that disruption is everywhere. 

And it can strike any industry at any minute… Whether it be car sharing’s impact on the livery business or mobile technology’s impact on media design and consumption, examples abound of monolithic industries changing virtually overnight on account of a few disruptors.

Companies like Nike and lesser known manufacturer LION have recognized this. The former, a maker of sports apparel has realized that what they really advance through their products is human potential. That brand value is now the common thread behind their community partnerships, research and development and recent ad campaigns. LION, a 117-year old family-owned business (and one of our clients) realized that the firefighter and first responder gear and services they provide are actually all about protecting lives—the lives of those that protect us all.  This led them to drop the word “apparel” from their name and create better connection across their varying lines of business.

Brand Value as a Strategic Amplifier

Knowing your company’s value to the world is not the fodder of well-crafted advertising messages, it’s the key to a strong, sustainable business.  It allows you, as a leader, the ability to bring a purpose-driven, customer-focused approach to every aspect of the business—so that together the company can have maximal impact. Applying your brand value as a strategic lens is a compelling tool.

 1.  It creates more productive organizations

Internally, when strategy, operations, brand, product development and people are all aligned by the same purpose, an organization’s power is made exponential through purposeful and inspired collaboration.

2. It makes partnerships more powerful

When you know what your value is you can partner with others who share it. That partnership will make more of an impact because both actors are honing in both independently and together on a shared purpose.

3. It builds stronger customer relationships

Clear value and honest communication breed connection and trust in those that appreciate and rely your value. This creates strong customer bonds that are deeper and thus less fickle.

4. It gives you permission to explore new products

When you are committed to your brand value, you don’t get too hung up on how you’re achieving it today—and neither do you customers. You have the market’s permission to pursue entirely new or complementary ways to achieve it (i.e. “Yes Tesla, you can make home batteries.”)

5. It’s the foundation for sustainability in the market

Why didn’t train companies get into the airplane business? They might have if they realized their value was the movement of people and not the laying of track. Focus on brand value is the foundation for entering an unknown future market with confidence. It distinguishes peddlers of goods, from long-term industry stalwarts.

All that said, that one could talk about branding or strategy separately is absurd.  The ability to know what you actually do in the world is not only the essence of your brand—which we at Blue Daring are experts in revealing and leveraging—it is the linchpin to successful strategic execution in a more connected and exponentially more dynamic world.

*A shout out to Steve for the inspiring conversation that triggered me to write this.

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1 Comment

Couldn’t agree with this more. There was a time when the idea of an internet search engine providing auxiliary digital products like email and calendars was silly, but search isn’t Google’s Purpose. They care about information and because of that, they have implicit permission to do anything they want…autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, IoT devices, etc.

Osei Kwakye

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