In our last article we talked briefly about the importance of brand, and we’re going into more detail this time. We also intend to cover the importance of consistency of brand – essentially where every “interaction” leaves the same impression of the values you are holding up to your clients and potential clients.
Of course, this only works well for you if your brand is good, and hasn’t been tarnished in some way. We can think of enough examples of companies with a global, identifiable brand – but where that isn’t necessarily a positive for them. Whether it’s due to oil spills, tax evasion, child labour, or whatever – it can take an awful long time to recover.
So let’s assume for the time being that your brand is “good” – and whether it’s global and valued at millions of pounds (see below), or more local and perhaps not valued in millions but extremely valuable to you and your reputation, you want to keep it that way.
What exactly is “brand” and what’s it worth?
It sounds such a simple thing – the grouping of features that distinguish one seller’s products from another’s – but there’s so much to it.
A quick look at some of the figures on corporate balance sheets illustrates the point rather well. Instead of looking at the actual brand value, let’s look at the contribution the brand makes to the market capitalisation of the company. In an Interbrand/J P Morgan study in 2002 these were the results:
- McDonald’s – 71%
- Disney – 68%
- Coca Cola – 51%
- Mercedes-Benz – 47%
That’s right – over 70% of McDonald’s total shareholder value is made up of its brand!
This is what John Stuart, Chairman of Quaker, said right at the start of the last century and long before terms like brand equity and intangible assets were dreamed up:
“If this business were split up, I would give you the land and bricks and mortar, and I would take the brands and trade marks, and I would fare better than you.”
So is it true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity?
And how important is the “consistency” that you mention?
Does it really extend all the way down to my letterheads?
Absolutely it does! As we’ve mentioned each and every interaction needs to reinforce what you’re all about and be instantly recognisable. Plus of course it always needs to project a positive and professional image.
So your logo, your web-site, your social media feeds, and all your stationery (leaflets, flyers, posters, letterheads, business cards, compliment slips, invoices, everything) – it all needs consistently to spread your message. This is just as important in your letterhead design as it is in everything else.
I’m convinced. So what next?
Use a printer that really understands these issues and the value of consistency; who can help you at every step along the way; and who can work with you to produce quality, professional stationery which projects exactly the right image.
You can, if you wish, do it all on-line, but we’re always here to help out and answer any questions that you may have.
We’ll be having a look at social media in print – an interesting topic!