It might be almost blasphemous to talk about letting go of old brand equity and laying an old brand to rest, but there are times when change is needed. Reformulating and re-designing, or even overhauling an old brand can be a wise decision. If sales are flat and show no sign of growth, you’d better stop kidding yourself and hire a branding consultant. Brands are an extremely vital element in your product and corporate value proposition. With communications so pervasive today, corporate branding and product branding are becoming fused as one. Corporate brands are increasingly powering product brands and product sales and that pose some substantial risk, as those sub brands can’t be as easily re-positioned when they falter.

Brand Culture

As time passes, culture changes, new technologies and new competing brands appear and they change the perception of value that is available in a marketplace. Old sales propositions won’t fly in the face of 20 or more other competitors offering the same benefits and features. With cultural, economic, technology changes, and corporate changes, your aging brand image and brand equity may end up doing more harm than good. Your former branding successes could leave your brand and company stuck in the past.

A good example of age related branding problem is in the realm of computer products. I recently bought a new laptop computer because my old one just couldn’t keep up with my multitasking and other work needs. At the retail store, there were computers with Intel or AMD microprocessors to choose from. The key matter wasn’t really microprocessor speed or capability. In the past, the Intel logo would have compelled me to buy only computers with their processors regardless of what other features were available in the computer. The Intel brand was clearly in a class by itself. Not this time. This AMD powered computer was low priced and had the memory I required along with other features such as a 100 Gb hard drive, high-resolution screen, numerous ports and adapters and a long lasting battery. It only weighs a couple of pounds and the AMD logo seemed to look better too. It says: AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology. 64 bits and mobile compatibility. Why doesn’t Intel mention that on the computer they have their products in?

Laptops are hot and prices are falling. My 15-year-old nephew just bought his first laptop on eBay, since they are cheaper and more accessible. So the whole “culture” of shopping and purchasing computers has changed. Everyone is buying high-resolution screens and I was eager to ease my eyestrain from long hours of viewing everyday. The huge hard drive was great and the laptop looks good too. The old Intel brand just didn’t have the effect it once did, and their competitor, AMD, just sold one of their processors. The laptop is working great and now Intel processors don’t dictate which computer I’ll buy.

To me, the Intel logo and brand brings back memories of old Pentium computers. This is worsened by the fact that today’s processors have changed and they are running at lower speeds. This confuses the speed benefit that Intel had its brand positioned around. The technology change in viewing screens, memory, and processor use in the computer has moved the market away from where Intel was positioned. The Intel corporate brand powers sales of their new processors, but they can call those new products anything they want and it won’t effective my decision.

Business large and small should consider hiring a professional branding company. A branding company brings a lot to the table. First and foremost they bring a third party objective point of view that a business is unable to obtain. The old saying holds true, you can’t see the forest through the trees. But how do you choose the right branding company? Ask yourself these questions.

How do they promote themselves? Are they calling themselves an advertising agency that also does branding? If so, they are not a true branding agency. An advertising agency has a hidden agenda, to sell advertising. A branding company does not favor one tactic over another so they should not and would not promote advertising unless it is the right direction to go in. Be careful of these ad agencies that say they do branding. It is much easier to use a buzz word like branding then to actual know how to brand properly.

Are they a web design company that says they do branding? These are the absolute worst offenders of not being a branding company. Ask them simple branding questions like what is positioning or explain the difference between brand identity and brand image. Most will not even know the answer. Then you can ask them a trick question like define brand equity (currently there is no definitive answer). Web design companies are well, web designers. They are not strategic branding experts by any stretch of the imagination.

Are they a marketing company that says the do branding? Be very careful of marketing companies as they are the sneakiest offenders of all. They will talk strategy and integration but they know little about internal branding. They typically promote external branding tactics like direct marketing, logo design, advertising etc. Marketing companies do marketing not branding.

Are they a direct marketing company that says they do branding? Boy oh boy, these companies are so far from true branding they wouldn’t know it if it hit them in the noggin. Direct marketing can be a great tactic but branding it is not. True branding companies only promote direct marketing when the return on investments warrants it. The average return on investment with a direct mail piece is a half to a full percent. Personally I think that is a small return for the investment required which is why direct marketing is typically used as image building with branding companies.

Are they a search engine optimization or internet company that says they do branding? Internet marketing is one of the most effective returns on investment in the business today. Search engine optimization is probably the best single tactic for building brand awareness and sales and is the reason we hired a staff of SEO gurus. But when it comes to branding they will fall very short in planning, strategy, creative and many other areas. Are they are branding company that really does branding? Unfortunately we have seen a lot of companies call themselves branding agencies but in all reality they are not.

Next to tangible and intangible assets, branding is seen as one of the most important success elements of a business. In fact, in a recent listing of the world’s best valued brands by Business Week and Interbrand, the report reveals an astonishing impact and influence of brand equity on the market value of a company. To measure branding therefore should be a major responsibility for the Chief Executive Officer, since well marketed brands translate to higher revenues and shares for the investors. The task however, is not just left to the CEO. Everyone in the company is a cog in the wheel. In this article, learn basic guides in measuring brand.

In order to fully understand the context of brand measurement, it is best to be familiar with the different terms that circulate the process. There are terms like premiums brands, corporate branding, individual branding, family branding, private branding, private label, economy brand, brand leveraging, employment brand and mother brands. These terms are actually referred to as the types of brands. On the other hand, there are also terms like firm level branding, product level branding and consumer level branding. These are referred to as the levels of measuring brand.

The process of gauging the efficiency and effectiveness of brand starts by identifying the type of branding used. Different approaches require also unique ways of scaling the strategic competence. Premium branding, for instance, is to be measured in such a way that its “premium” appeal will be enhanced. This type of branding involves the process of putting first class or high cost to the product to uphold quality. Measuring indicators may include cost attractiveness or the response of people with regards to the price and the quality. Measuring economy brand however entails not just the promise of quality but also the market’s association of the price to its quality.

Aside from the types of branding, the measurement methods are also based on the three levels. The firm level of branding is one that refers to the company’s point of view. In this level, the company regards the brand as an intangible financial asset and therefore a different approach in measuring must be made. Computing the value of the brand can be obtained by subtracting the market value of the organization which is taken from its capitalization with the intangible and tangible assets, the difference is called the brand equity. Interbrand is currently the leading consultation firm that measures brands across America and around the world through the firm level approach. Other basis for measuring via this level are: international reach or impact of the brand, stability, market leadership and risk profile.

The product level approach is made by comparing the prices of two products, a popular brand and a private label brand. The significant difference is said to be the effect of branding. The consumer level approach, on the other hand, measures the way people associate qualities to the brand, often termed as brand recognition or recall. Among the three levels, though, the most common approach familiar to consumers is the consumer level. This is when they experience products tests, interviews and surveys. This ultimately tests how effective a brand is since it is the perception of the users that are measured here. But remember, there are different considerations when one is to measure branding.