Stand By Your Brand (2013)
With the government shutdown and all the other news media noise going on, you may have missed an interesting piece of business news a few weeks ago. Coca-Cola was bumped by Apple as the most valuable brand in the world. And, if you're keeping score, Google sneaked by Coke as well and now holds the number two spot.
This is big. Coke has been recognized as the world's most valuable brand for just about as long as anyone can remember.
Now I'm not smart enough to tell you how they calculate these things so even if you really care, please don't ask. But hopefully I do know something about enhancing brand value so I was pleased to get some reinforcement from a new study produced by public relations giant, Edelman. This infographic pretty much sums it up:
If you accept this research of 11,000 online consumers at face value, it strongly suggests that, for all their denials, consumers are not as cynical about marketing as we are often told. Or in the words of Sally Field, "You like me. You really do like me."
One aspect of the study that really caught my attention was this. "The biggest gap between importance and performance came in the area of 'communicating openly and transparently about how products are sourced and made.'"
Just yesterday I sat in on a presentation by Michael Hillsman, Senior Marketing Director at McDonald's during which he showed TV commercials about the people and organizations who provide many of the ingredients on the company's menu. The stories of these suppliers were very engaging and made a strong statement about McDonald's commitment to food quality.
Here are a few other statistics from the study that speak to the gap between what consumers believe is important and how they perceive brands are actually performing:
- Listens and responds thoughtfully (39% point gap)
- Gives back to community (37% point gap)
- Openly offers information on how the brand performs against competitors (37% point gap)
- Conducts business in ways that align with people's values (36% point gap)
Again, people really do care about their favorite brands, and this is as true on the local level as it is for national and international brands. It is up to all of us in marketing to return the love.
The good news is that addressing these perceived gaps between importance and performance is relatively easy. Virtually all of the marketing communications disciplines afford us the tools to tell these important stories. Social media. Public relations. Traditional advertising. The company website. All of these tools and more can help convey how our brands are aligned with the needs of our customers.
To me, that's what building brand value is all about.
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