Brands are many things to many people – what you see, read, hear, feel, experience. In business conversations the idea of brand seems to be very broad and many businesses have a seemingly way of making everything “fit the brand.” The truth is if you ask 30 different executives what a brand is you’ll likely get almost as many definitions.
However the broader a business allows the definition of “their brand” to be the less impact, uniqueness, value and ability to build a meaningful and competitive brand culture becomes. The business may very well be successful however the relationship with the customer will always be limited to arms length transactions or better said simply a transactional brand.
To build beyond the transaction and create exponential brand value where customers become emotionally attached to a brand the business needs to clearly focus on what it stands for and more importantly why the customer should care. This moves the business customer relationship to one of caring for each other and in a sense a more human connection. The better a business connects with a customer around meaningful values, ethics and concerns which are reinforced by their products and services the larger the brand equity grows in the customers mind.
As customers give more of their mind-share to a brand the more meaningfulness the brand becomes in a customer’s life. This is called brand equity and often is associated with premium value beyond other options of a similar product or service. The more meaning something has in our lives the greater we will use, talk about, share and recommend the brand to others. The best way to think about brand equity is like our personal relationships. Those relationships we hold closest to our hearts are afforded more of us and more of them including trusting, caring, defending, forgiving and so on.