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What value is your brand to me?

For all the fascinating content that many brands now generate, engaging an audience that is information rich and time poor is still a problem. Customers are impatient to see the value of your brand upfront – and great content is not enough.

Previously, the audience’s approach to brand was “Who are you and why should I care,” but this has evolved to “What are you going to do for me, why should I care, and why should I believe you” and only then “who are you.” This might seem a subtle distinction at first but in fact it’s a fundamental shift that brands need to contend with.

Marty Neumeier summarised this well in The Brand Gap; “Customers don’t care about strategy, they care about what your product, service, or company means in the context of their lives. And ultimately, “your brand isn’t what you say it is—it’s what they say it is” based on that experience”.

Kevin Lane Keeler’s brand equity model illustrates this point well, placing the brand’s resonance at the top of a pyramid of elements that include emotional, rational and visual associations with the brand, as judged by the audience it serves. It’s an increasingly relevant reference for B2B brands. At the pinnacle sits the brand’s proposition, which clearly defines its value to the audience based upon their needs.

Defining your brand’s value

There are a variety of frameworks for developing brand value proposition but all typically follow a similar formula. Our own take on it is as follows.

Our audience is…

Their needs, challenges and buying criteria are…

We provide product/solution/service…

The benefits and value of which are…

This is different to our competition because…

You can believe us because…

The output from this exercise should be distilled further to become more digestible and customer friendly, with sentence and paragraph derivatives.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

This exercise might be considered the territory for small businesses and start-ups but it’s a useful process for brands of all sizes to review on a regular basis as a check and balance to ensure they stay on track and relevant to the audience they serve.

Brand values; as important as ever

Whilst the brand value needs to be clear, its values still have an important role to play. Authenticity, authority and integrity are vital if brands are not to appear bi-polar. It’s no good your marketing conveying one message when your business is delivering another. Customer experience is the number one reason for businesses to look elsewhere and, in an increasingly social business environment where experiences are sought and shared, it’s more important then ever.