Building a strong brand equity, the commercial advantage that enables a company to charge more for its brand of a particular product or service compared to its competitors’, is a very potent tool for market domination and good return on investments. A product or service marketed under a strong brand name will continue to command solid patronage even at raised prices compared to generics that can effectively perform same function at lower prices. There is a psychological or emotional attachment to well branded product as consumers have come to associate the company name with quality, value and sometimes intangible nous such as ‘class’ or ‘coolness’. The time-tested power of brand equity derives from the perception the consumer associates with the branded product or service, rather than from the actual product or service itself.
The leverage is about the brand image that the company has built for itself on consistent, sustained and strategic basis entrenching itself into the consciousness of the consuming public. For example, many youths prefer to don Nike, Adidas or Puma sport swears in preference to other relatively unknown brands because of their association of the former with world class athletes and celebrities. In the subconscious, consumers believe that a product with a well-known name is better than those produced under less well-known names, without necessarily having a scientific evidence to back up the assumption. For example, as of today an Apple computer is likely to inspire consumer confidence more than that produced by a relatively unknown Nigerian electronic gadgets brand even though both products might possibly be able to perform essentially the same function and the unit cost of production of both products can also be the same. The trick is about the brand equity and ‘respect’ that the name ‘Apple’ has come to command through superior branding efforts matched with consistent promise delivery.
Strategically, the power of brand equity also becomes very important when a company wants to increase its product portfolio or open up new service branches. A newly introduced product under the company’s brand name has increased likelihood of positive market reception if the business name already enjoys strong brand equity. Consumers will transfer the psychological engagement they have associated with the company’s existing products under the umbrella brand name onto the new offering.
Brand positioning efforts project your business positively to society using key messages and solid visibility endeavours driven by well themed publicity. Commitment to consistent quality in your actual business output and correct branding approach with regards to the business terrain and target audience are key to attaining desired positives in pursuit of strong brand equity. Investing in strategic reputation management and innovative branding programmes is one of the best investment you can make into your business. Business grows when owners work smart not necessarily harder or more prolific.
Zenera Consulting is a branding advisory services firm with time-tested experience in Corporate Communications, Reputation Management, Investor Relations and Market Intelligence analysis. Clients cut across the Oil & Gas sector, ICT, FMCGs, governmental agencies and financial services providers among others.
-Lanre Fashina, Research & Strategic Communications Associate at Zenera Consulting, Lagos.