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Featured article: Modern Law Magazine (Issue 58)

Simplify’s Group Marketing Director, Mark Howell answers the question… What’s in a brand? Think broad-brand!

One of the best expressions that I’ve come across to explain the definition of a brand is the simple phrase, brand = perception x experience. That explanation particularly resonates with me as it strikes at two crucial factors to success.

How you are perceived can often be ignored at the expense of experience (service). I think it’s important you consider both – what you say about yourself and how you act across the many aspects of your business will build how people perceive you; your proposition, values, culture, employee recruitment etc. A successful business, large or small, will be consistent over time so that your message has the best possible chance of being remembered, understood and valued. That may translate into future customers, employees, investors or other relationships crucial to business success.

There are many examples of how companies can get this right or wrong, none more so than the infamous example of the Fearless Girl bronze statue facing up to Wall Street’s ‘Charging Bull’. Initially, the campaign, or rather, the figure, was installed ahead of International Women’s Day by Boston-based State Street Corporate to highlight the lack of women on the boards of the largest U.S. corporations. The campaign won many awards and was a great success until later when it came to light that State Street Corporate didn’t have any female board members. Not thinking broadly about what you say about yourself can easily unwind if it’s not something you can deliver. Particularly relevant when you follow a trend or attempt to jump on the bandwagon. Be clear about your purpose and stick to it.

Experience, or for simplicity, the service you deliver is equally important. Again, thinking about the broader aspects of providing service will ultimately pay dividends. None more so than recruitment. Getting the right people to deliver that service experience is vital. But what helps you to recruit the very best? Is it the salary? Or is it the working environment, the culture, the growth opportunities, the training, outstanding leadership or taking part in engaging work?

Whatever your definition or view of a brand, think about building a brand over the long term with a broad perspective.