One of the most important aspects of building a business is –building the brand. The business brand is the most valuable asset of the company. It is the brand that sells, markets and promotes the products in the eyes of potential customers.
Rich dad said, “If you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, you’d better know and respect a brand.” That means it is very difficult to be successful in business without evolving your business into a business brand!
In short, if the business doesn’t evolve into a brand, it will fail!
You’re either building a business brand or a business commodity. There are a lot of commodities in the marketplace—but there are few brands. When a business becomes a brand—it ceases to be a transaction between the customers—it becomes a valuable relationship.
It can even evolve into a love affair with the customers for a long period of time.
Donald Trump, the New York real estate titan said, “I build a great product and then it sells and everyone gives me credit for being a good promoter. Your brand is your reputation—and comes from the strength of your products over time. Branding is an important part of marketing. The Trump brand stands for very high quality and very high confidence. People feel secure in the brand. That’s why my building in Las Vegas is so successful. Other builders are not doing well and I’m doing well.”
The Brand Sells the Product
People believe and love the brand and then buy the product.
That means the most important asset of a business is not the systems, machines, factory and so forth. The most important asset of a business is the brand! That’s why entrepreneurs must focus on building their brand!
The problem with many business folks is that they think their logo, designs, artworks, and all others make up the business brand. They fail to understand that a brand is not a logo—but it is the reputation the business has built over a period by adhering to its core values!
Don Sexton, president of Arrow Group wrote in his book, Marketing 101, “Your brand is probably the most important and most valuable asset of your organization.”
People don’t care about what you sell. They care about what you stand for. They care about who you are. They care about your reputation. They care about your integrity. They care about your core values. They relate with you because they believe in your core values, reputation, and integrity!
The most important thing to protect in business is the reputation of the business in the marketplace. You’ve got to have a clear understanding of what your business stands for and establish that in your field and target market through consistency over a long period.
Three Components of a Brand
According to Don Sexton, a brand is primarily made up of three components, and I agree. The components of a brand are:
The identifiers are what identify the brand among other brands and commodities in a specific industry. The logo, colors, images, shapes and many others that help business partners, investors and customers identify with the brand make up the identifiers!
The attributes of the brand refer to what the brand stands for and is known for. Notice these two distinctions—what you stand for and what you are known for. The fact that you say stand for quality doesn’t necessarily mean people know you for quality. The attributes of the brand reflect its core values!
The associations of the brand have to do with the group of people associated with the brand. Every brand attracts a specific customer, employee, management, partners and investors. The people you attract is a great determinant of who you are at the core!
The Example of Apple
In short, a brand is simply what the business is at the core.
Apple’s brand has been listed by Forbes as the most valuable business brand in the world valued at $182.8 billion. And it has been observed that people buy Apple products because of their affinity to the brand. They love and believe the brand so they buy the products.
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple said, “Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”
Think Marketing Magazine in analyzing and commenting about the success of the Apple brand noted that the core values of Apple sets forth the fundamental pillars upon which their product development and marketing is built on.
The marketing strategy of Apple is focused on the core values of the company. The product development, the promotion, the distribution, the customer service and all other functions of the company has been intensively focused on the core values of the company!
A brand is built from core values. The core values of the entrepreneur form the DNA of the company. And the DNA of the company is what builds the brand and maintains the brand in the marketplace.
Tim Cook, who is now the CEO of Apple said, “Steve built a company and a culture that is unlike any other in the world and we’re going to stay true to that.”
The core values of the company—the heart of the business brand—when observed over a period of time form the culture of the company. This corporate culture reflects the core values of the entrepreneur, the company and the products the company produces!
The core values are the fundamentals of the company’s beliefs, philosophies, principles, and code of ethics for doing business. The core values build the brand and the brand builds the company.
Apple’s core value is to make the best products in the market and focus on a few selected products so that they can develop and innovate. When you break down this core value, you get the other seven piercing values according to Think Marketing Magazine.
Here are the seven core values of Apple which form their corporate culture, holds and glues the company together over the years.
- We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products that will change the world.
- We believe in the simple, not the complex.
- We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make.
- We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
- We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
- We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
- We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
Protecting the DNA of the Brand
These seven core values are what Tim Cook referred to as the DNA of the company. According to Tim Cook, as long as the company adheres to these seven core values, the company will stay strong and be the best in the world!
Robert T. Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, exerted, “Inside every great brand is the DNA of the entrepreneur who started it all. That DNA is a precious and valuable asset that few companies even recognize they have until it is lost. If the DNA is not protected, the brand soon dies. This is why so many brands die when the entrepreneur sells their business to a big corporation.”
The core values of the entrepreneur who started the business form the DNA of the brand. And as long as the DNA of the company—the core values—are maintained, the meaning, relevance, and value of the brand will also be maintained in the market place.
That was what Apple did over time!
When Steve Jobs, founder of Apple died in 2011, the brand didn’t die!
Tim Cook, an intelligent CEO realized that they need to protect the DNA of Steve Jobs—the core values with which he used to build the company!
As long as the core values of the entrepreneur which develops into the corporate culture and builds the business brand is maintained, the company will remain successful and remain relevant in the field! That was exactly what Tim Cook did!
If they did it, you can also do it! Start building your business brand today around your core values! Identify the core values of your company and build the company around it!