Probably the #1 thing we struggle with as our clients are making core branding decisions is where the “strengths” in their current branding lie. Simply put, a history of using a name does not mean it has “equity.”
Your heritage name only has value to you if it is ideal for FUTURE communications and marketing. What many of our clients talk about in terms of “equity” – it is the #1 point of disagreement internally when our clients are struggling with their core brand. The argument is generally based on the assumption that because a name or abbreviated form of it has been in use for a period of time, it has more value” than something new. Not true. Equity should be a measure of how powerfully your brand assets provide for making your future brand promise to primarily new audiences – like prospective customers in the future. Current customers or audiences favorable to your appeals are the easiest audience to get to – they want to get your communications and the change in your brand to something more powerful for FUTURE marketing, is highly desirable.
Now do not get us wrong – our goal is first to do no harm to an existing brand and the relationship it carries with existing audiences and customers. The case to beat is always to work with what you have. However, that definition of “equity” is completely backward facing – not look at whether it is optimal for the new future you are aiming for. If it is – all good, but if not, the time to focus forward is right now! “Equity” is at a minimum the wrong word here – equity is an asset with future-facing power – in the case of a brand, equity is the ability to impact future behaviors toward your stated brand promise and goals. If your name and core language reduces your ability to do that, it is worth looking at!
In our next installment, more about names and nonsense…