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The Importance of Brand

March 17, 2008

At a recent PPC Summit, a presenter joked about brand. He said that if you wanted to charge your client a lot for your services without results, then call it ‘brand’.

The people at the conference laughed. Which illustrates a point: ‘brand’ isn’t well understood. We talk about brand, even joke about it. But what is it? Here is one of the smartest descriptions of brand.

Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Millward Brown talks about the importance of brand. It’s one of the best arguments for ‘brand’ I’ve ever read so I’ll exert a lot of it:

“The concept of heuristics helps explain why strong brands are important and will remain so. Brands, like heuristics, provide convenient shortcuts and, most important, clear stopping points for decision making.

Time is the most expensive commodity in today’s economy. Few people will invest significant amounts of time researching all the possible options for a brand purchase. Usually the risk of making a bad purchase is relatively low and there are too many other things vying for those precious, irreplaceable minutes. So the stronger your brand, the more likely it is that people will click on its link instead of some other one.”

From here.

The point is this: in the digital economy, everything is speeding up. The path to purchase can be a lot faster because people are becoming better at searching. Google and other search engines are becoming better at giving relevant search data.
And all the new media options, from Facebook to Wikipedia, TV to YouTube offer touchpoints. Managing them will be critical to maintaining a brand that is both relevant and trusted. Because if you don’t, then in that split second when someone accesses the brand to move forward in their search, the brands that win will be the brands that resonate.

It’s that simple. And since the toolbox is ever-expanding, that tough.

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