Capitalizing on Your Brand
As a CPA it’s in my nature to measure the effect of investments on the bottom line. In an era where we’re pushed to do more with less I’ve witnessed many companies make great strides with slim resources. The key is to squeeze every last bit of value out of the resources at hand, and central to these efforts is leveraging your brand. A brand is an interesting intangible. It’s not something that gradually loses value like other assets; it can actually create value and bring future returns if you use it wisely.
Marketing departments are often ancillary to a company’s operations—lumped in with HR, internal accounting and other cost centers. As a line item that costs money and seemingly generates no revenue, executives often are hesitant to allocate more money to the department, yet expect phenomenal results. For that reason, marketers’ common challenge is simply tackling the current projects list. It’s hard to think strategically when you are constantly juggling more initiatives that you can handle. Therefore, simple opportunities are missed.
When working with limited resources it is crucial to make the most of what you’ve got. Studies show that the visual impact to an audience of a logo is much more effective than written words. Seize opportunity to put your brand mark on collateral. Not taking advantage is a huge missed opportunity. After you’ve worked hard to develop a authentic mark show it off at every appropriate moment.
As busy professionals it’s hard to find time to review work with a fine-toothed comb, so these accents often get missed. Never forget that difference between good and great lies in the details. Not only will you appear more cohesive, but it also drives home your name and logo. Small efforts gain momentum until you finally achieve the top-of-mind awareness. In our fast-paced world we often work on several projects simultaneously. Be sure to set aside time to review those final details that ensure you are getting every last ounce of oomph from your brand.
THE COMPOUND EFFECT
We all understand compound interest and its power to grow money. There is a compound effect on brands as well. The more frequently your audience is exposed to your brand, the more recognizable your company becomes. Keep it simple! Distill your brand’s essence into one image and a short tagline. The frequent, consistent use of your mark will propel your brand forward and allow you to make great strides with very little cash spent.
Don’t wait until a negative situation necessitates communication with your audience. The truth is, if you have developed a rapport with clients or consumers they will be much more forgiving in times of need and will enthusiastically share their opinion when things are going great. Create opportunities for dynamic engagement. People to want to comment on your brand and their experience with it. Even if their feedback is harsh, it’s better to be proactive than have your head in the sand. Does your website have a blog with comments enabled? Is your social media activity consistent? Remember to ask questions and encourage engagement. Online media is society’s central forum and a rich platform for two-way communication.
Ideally, set aside at least 15 minutes each morning to post one piece of original content, reply to any recent feedback, and scan the marketplace for activity relative to your company. The more you are out there, the more room you have to be fluid with the brand mark. You can segment your audience and test different tweaks on small groups before rolling it out at large. Perhaps more importantly, it gives you a finger on the pulse of the competitive landscape and an insight into what influences your clients and consumers.
After taking the time and money to invest in a brand mark companies have a vey powerful tool in their pocket that can return its investment time and again. The key is thoughtfully leveraging the brand. A great brand is a powerful vehicle, but to really make it shine you’ve got to use it smartly and frequently. Get the most out of it!
Maria Young, CPA is the owner of Radix Accounting, LLC, a firm offering contract Controller services in Portland, OR specializing in creative services and breweries.
This article was originally published in a February 2013 edition of the Daily Journal of Commerce.