Branding relies on three things – brand, reputation and product. Combine the three well and success should follow. Colin Jarvis, co-founder of OnStrategy, explains how.

Businesses exist in a state of perpetual change. They have to adapt and transform themselves at a pace equal to, or quicker than the world
in which they exist. Failure to do so ultimately leads to stagnation and extinction.

In the 1950s, Unilever founder Lord Leverhulme said that he knew half his advertising was wasted, but he did not know which half. An MD today could update
that statement by proclaiming they knew the worth of brand investment but not its value.

At monthly board meetings across the business community, owners and managers address the traditional issues of cashflow, expenditure, investment and capitalisation.

Rarely however, is that ‘intangible asset’ (corporate brand) given consideration, despite often being the asset with the biggest net figure set against it on the balance sheet.

BUT WHAT IS BRAND?
What it is categorically not, is an ‘intangible asset’. In reality it is the most tangible entity of any organisation, conveying direction, intention and positioning to all critical audiences from investors to employees.

Neither is it a singularly super-ficial badge of uniformity, a logo, a look, or the founder’s charismatic personality. A brand is simply the collective perception derived
from expectation, image and experience and these are projected through reputation, branding and product.

For embryonic and young growing businesses there is a paramount lesson to be learned from the catalogue of brand failures. To be successful you must have absolute synergy between the building blocks of brand, reputation, and product.

Failing on one would result in a business that is ‘synergetically challenged’ and misfiring on two or more would be indicative of a business that was ‘synergetically
dysfunctional’.

Take for example the BMW Mini – everything about it is right. The product is a fantastic design of the moment – massproduced individuality. Only two in 100,000 are likely to have the same specification and with exciting derivatives such as the new convertible, the company is keeping its product
fresh and ripe for market.

The combined brands of BMW and Mini are extremely strong, while the reputation of BMW and its owners the Quant family – although both briefly tarnished by the Rover debacle – is now back to full strength.

Result: strong brand, strong product, strong reputation. A real win, win, win situation, and a prime example of a true synergetic business.