Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brand Values

I was recently plagued by a question which I haven't been able to answer satisfactorily...While creating or revamping a brand how do you decide what the brand values should be...
The reason this thought entered my head was coz I've been trying to define what exactly a 'brand' is to me... and the best description I've come up with so far is that it is naught but a set of values that are demonstrated over and over again through all the aspects of business... product, communication, packaging, place, promotion, relationships etc
Once I had a fix on the definition I started thinking about whether brand values are established on the basis of what the brand is at that moment or what you'd like it to be... now if you choose the latter then it means that there are values absent at this point in time but will have to be inculcated... and this is where the dicotomy arises... is it possible to inculcate values or should you draw out positives that you have and not bother with trying to imbibe new values... the reason being that if tis a new set of values you may not be able to demonstrate them consistently thus damaging the brand...Or is it possible to build new relationships keeping the new brand values in mind without any risk to the brand?
My personal choice is to go with what you have and not inculcate new values and if you want new values dig deep to find the right set of values...
I feel that usually brand values are closely linked with the values of the founding figures e,g, Adolf Dassler and adidas - performance, ambition, drive to excel... and founding figures are usually quite iconic...so even if the brand gets a bit jaded over time, values can be obtained from these founding figures and conveyed through brand stories I guess...
I also wonder if the financial modeling whiz's can come up with a beta for brand risk?

4 comments:

Siddharth Jain said...

Hi Bhavisha, This is quite an interesting post and though I agree with you for the most part of it.. I feel that brand personality which is usually that of the founding figures is only a subset of the overall Intangible value that a brand offers. If I were to use the Brand "Pyramid" to address this question on Brand Values the result is quite clear as the bottom of the pyramid starts with the Tangible Value (product attributes and benefits) and at the next three levels of the pyramid are the brands intangible benefits such as the emotional benefits, brand personality (the one that you are referring to) and the brand essence. You will however require considerable soul searching to identify the value your brand offers with respect to each of these components.

Treeram said...

Hi,

Nice post. I was interested in a couple of points, first is your beta for 'Brand Risk', I had this in my mind some time back. There is enough promising (read it as Branding) happening all around without resources and organizational changes to back them, especially in small and medium enterprises (e.g easy to use , cheapest one , coolest one, the wise one and what not?). There is really a huge risk of brand tampering because of this. It is sad that financial risks are easily recognized , while a much more dangerous risk (customer facing) is looked over because there is no real tool to measure non-customers.

I recently heard a story of an FMCG in south India spending 50-60 crores to rebrand themselves (they had previously put an ad which slightly hinted at a different customer segment , the other segments becoming non-customers) ,this is no small sum! How can firms ignore simple common sense.

The second part ,I agree with you that Brands should be built with what you have..but can't we buy what we want to have? A new leader , a new corporate culture , a new quality perspective , a new customer segment everything can be bought at a price (financial and time)...this is very relative , firms which make the change and change the brand survive ... some stay where they are and survive...others change the brand but don't make the necessary organizational change fall through

Even with respect to an individual person..know what you are and choose what you want to do...Know were you want to be , learn what you need to learn..this could be good start for building yourself as a brand!

Got me thinking..after a long time.. this applies even to me now

Bhavisha said...

Hey,
Thanks for commenting guys...
@Sid, when you say that if you use the brand pyramid to address the issue.. use basically product attributes and benefits... would that imply that your product comes first and from that product (i.e. something with a much lower competitive advantage than the brand) emerge your brand values?

Siddharth Jain said...

That goes to say that product attributes and benefits are at the bottom of the pyramid and a source of Tangible Value the rest is all Intangible and both tangible and intangible together make brand value.