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September 20, 2015

Why so many companies get branding wrong?

Of all the assets any company has, its brand is the single most valuable.

Though it is a bold statement to say so but think about it: If managed properly, company brand is one asset that will never depreciate. Patents expire, software age, buildings crumble, machines wear out, but brand name, it never depreciates, only grows.

Despite its unique attributes it is often misunderstood and very less attention is paid to it. A lot of actions taken on this matter are driven by mere experimentation, which leads to a vague definition of company’s brand image. But neglecting branding is both naïve and shortsighted for any company.

Too many business owners believe that branding is a discipline that belongs to the marketing department. However it is much broader than that, branding involves everything a company stands for and how it positions itself in front of the customers. It includes everything from the logo on the letterhead; to the way it handles its customer complaints, to how its representative dresses for its next PR event. It’s both easy and foolish to restrict your perspective of branding to verbal and visual presentation of your company, even your employee feedback on the work culture inside the company shapes how people perceives your brand image and what they talk about you. There isn’t anything that anyone does in your company that doesn’t affect your brand image and your reputation.

An easy way to check this metric can be to research what people say about the company in forums, and social media. A quick search on Quora, about comparison between Flipkart and Amazon services can show how people’s perspective about brand is shaped by it’s after sales customer service. The platform is filled with stories of how Amazon’s friendly customer service helped them to have a pleasant shopping experience.

Branding in simple words can be explained as a promise that a company does to their customers, and we all love an honest company. Branding is crucial however very few companies intentionally manage their brands as the valuable assets they are. Effective branding improves the visibility and admiration for a product, service, or company. It attracts attention and drives sales. It also improves margins, as customers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies they know they can trust. Branding also improves the internal working of an organization by motivating the employees and letting them work in a more noble work culture where customer intention is served.

It’s easy to think about branding just in terms of the being available on the new social media platform, or making another viral video, or a personalized smartphone app. Doing so still misses the fundamental principle of the discipline that goes well beyond just following the trend. Branding is not like mathematics, engineering, or accounting, in which there are rules to be followed and methods to measure accuracy and success, in contrast there are a significant number of commonsense truths based on how real humans interact in the real world that can make a significant impact for any business’s reputation.