Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I do and I’m ready to confess – it’s the Antiques Roadshow!
I’m not sure when my attachment to this Sunday evening BBC institution started, but I remember watching it with my mum when I was still a young lad.
One thing that always fascinated me about the program is attribution, which I can sum up as that moment when the expert looks at a painting and they are not entirely sure who it is by.
“It’s a beautiful seascape” they say, “and if it is a Turner, it’s going to be worth 1 to 2 million pounds at auction.” Gasps are heard from the assembled audience. “If it’s not a Turner, it’s still a jolly nice picture and worth in the region of 1 to 2 thousand pounds!”
Wait! What? Seriously?
What is Brand Value?
The picture is worth a thousand times more if you can prove it was by one person not another? Surely it’s an equally good picture whoever painted it?
The difference is the brand value – Turner is a brand. He is also a recognised Master, so a piece of work by him has immense kudos, the respect of the art world and the financial value which that entails. The unknown artist may have the talent, but without the brand, not the value.
You and I may not be in the market for artistic masterpieces, but the same principles apply with whatever we buy, whether it’s cars, furniture, white goods, electronics, clothes, food, print, consumables, literally anything, there will be similar products that are priced very differently.
A suit by a known designer may cost £1,500 whilst an equivalent one from Marks and Spencer’s might be £150. Even your Christmas Pudding (well, it is coming) can be 3 times the price if it has a celebrity chef’s name on the box. Is the pudding any better than the supermarket brand? Possibly, but not necessarily.
The same applies to services. If you are buying strategic or branding support, training or coaching, design or development, prices can vary enormously. But why?
There are two factors at play. The first is that actually whilst products may seem to be the same, we are not always comparing like with like. There are differences in design and production quality and in the support that comes with the products that you buy.
The second factor is the “Turner Effect” that I referred to at the beginning – that is, the incremental value that can be attributed to a product or service because it’s associated with a particular personal or business brand.
More accurately, this is described as brand value. Brand value is what any business is striving to achieve. If a product costs them £100 to deliver, brand value may be the difference between selling that at £125 or £1,000.
But, how do you justify the difference? Why do people pay more?
Understanding Brand Value
Brand value is the premium your customer is prepared to pay based upon their expectation of your performance. This expectation initially comes from how you present your company, how you design and package your products, and advocacy from stakeholders including staff, customers, suppliers and external agencies.
Over time it’s how they personally experience your brand that will determine if they will continue to pay a premium. And remember, their experience relates to the entirety of their relationship with you and your business. It is every element from the way your marketing presents your products and services, to how they are physically delivered, how well they are supported, the payment process, whether they produce the results that you projected and so on.
If the experience and the expectation do not align, the brand value is diminished and the premium is unjustifiable in the consumers’ eyes.
However, when your brand promise is delivered, the premium represents money well spent to the consumer, and your performance vindicates their faith.
When consumers love your brand, they will go out of their way to support it. They tell their friends and family about you. They write positive reviews to encourage future buyers. They will inconvenience themselves to buy from you, disregarding cheaper and more convenient alternatives. And they will be accepting and forgiving if they experience an occasional problem, so long as you fulfil your brand promise in the way that you sort it out.
You want proof? Look at the queues outside the Apple store when a new phone is being released. Do you have people sleeping on the pavement in anticipation of your next new product release?
Building Brand Value
How do you build brand value in the first place? You need a strategy. You must identify who your audience is, recognise their needs and wants, and position yourself in the way that addresses their pains, concerns and aspirations with appropriate contextualised content at the right time.
At Focus7 we specialise in this process, helping our clients to position themselves in the right way and in the right place to attract and develop their sales and profitability. We do this through our workshop process that gets to the heart of our clients’ businesses, and by identifying potential gaps, unexploited assets and opportunities, as well as blockages in the current customer journeys, provides a framework for igniting their brand and driving growth.
See what some of our clients have said about the process
“At the point I joined VoxSmart, I was keen to understand not only ‘who we are?’ but also ‘what we do, and who we do it for?’ I find answering these questions interesting, and having people from across the business functions engaging is key. The team at Focus7 spent a lot of time and effort really asking the simple questions of the VoxSmart team, getting to the heart of our business and helping us align on our purpose. As we move forwards, with a new and consistent brand identity that is presented in the right way to the right audience, both colleagues and customers will instantly understand what we are about, with no room for misunderstanding – this is a key win for me.”
Alan Giles, Chief Commercial Officer of communications surveillance specialist, VoxSmart
“Through participating in the Focus7 Brand Activation workshops and working collaboratively, the Focus7 team really got under the skin of who The Food People are, our purpose, our key audiences, and what we have to offer. They undertook an extensive audit of our current communications, advised and built a new stream of contextualised content marketing across all communications that work coherently together. Their bigger picture strategic approach is combined with meticulously planned email campaigns, designed and focused on the needs of each of our audience profiles, across every step of the customer journey.”
Wayne Edwards, Co-founder and Director of food trends experts, The Food People
“For any ambitious business that has a vision for the future, trying to identify what needs to be done and in what order to realise that vision can often be overwhelming. The process we went through with Focus7 was expertly organised and as their name would suggest, focused. It was an intense and demanding programme but at the end of it, the sense of being overwhelmed was replaced with one of clarity and optimism. What’s more our vision was expanded and our horizons widened. The well ordered ‘To Do’ list that resulted from the programme has without doubt accelerated our plans by several months if not years. Every ambitious business owner should consider going through this process.”
Patrick Harrison, MD of LSGi, customer engagement and support specialists
If you would like some support in building brand value in your business, whether by reviewing or developing a strategy, looking at your visual and tonal branding, creating a new website or collateral or by creating contextualised content, please get in touch – we would be delighted to support you on your growth journey.
David Langdown is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Focus7, a purpose-driven, brand-led growth agency. David has been a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing since 2003. He has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and is a practising counsellor.