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Building Blocks of Brand Equity—The Intangible Capital

By Alan Brew
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Background

The nature and concept of “brand” has changed radically over the past 60 years. During the first days of formal marketing, brand was used in the same way ranchers branded cattle; to make a statement that “this product is mine.” Over time, the approach to branding grew to accommodate basic concepts of brand awareness, recognition and preference to understand how well the brand was working in the marketplace. This was the golden age of advertising.

Today, we are living in a much more complex and connected world. The concept of brand has evolved to represent a larger promise with sustained delivery of that promise through all points of contact with internal and external constituencies.  Branding has become the implied promise a company makes to the people who matter, that the value proposition made tangible through the sum of all experiences will be consistent, satisfying and differentiating.

This total brand experience approach maintains that brand is larger than a name, graphic design or an advertising slogan; it is the strategic filter through which all interactions with the world are passed.

Brand now represents the foundation of an organization’s relationship with the world. Every experience is a brand experience and each one impacts the perception of the brand, and by extension, the organization itself.

The totality of the experience represents the intangible capital that is brand equity. This is especially true of service organizations such as financial institutions, management consultancies, hospitality companies and healthcare organizations with intangible products: the service experience is often the only differentiating factor.