2003: Get Your Brand Game Going

Experts from Monigle Associates predict branding will take on new significance in the business world in 2003, as consumers and the government clamor for truth and accountability from American businesses.

With the FCC and FTC holding several key cards it its dealings with the ad industry, branding will be important as an image builder as well. According to Monigle, companies and other organizations will reexamine their values, elevate branding discussions to the executive level, and consider the impact of corporate decisions on their brands. As businesses shift their brand strategy to an even more strategic level, Rick Jacobs, principal of Monigle Associates, predicts more corporations will incorporate "experiential" branding – “branding in which organizations connect with their stakeholders by enabling them to experience the brand promise through all company touchpoints.”

"A positive experience with the accounts receivable department will tend to be more personally meaningful to a customer than any broad-based marketing campaign," said Jacobs, "and if the experience validates other communication the customer receives from the company, he or she may be more likely to be loyal to that brand in the future."

Company employees will continue to play a key role in executing the brand, by acting as ambassadors to customers, the community, members of the media, industry analysts, and shareholders. It will be up to company leaders to ensure employees receive an orchestrated presentation of the organization's core values, including its vision and points of differentiation.

ROI will also change according tot he report. In 2003, according to Jacobs, smart organizations will calculate the success of their brands not only by numeric measurements, but also by taking into account the emotional effect the brand has on their stakeholders.

"In the 1990s, researchers determined that it wasn't enough to measure a person's intelligence quotient (IQ) as a predictor of personal success," said Jacobs. "Now, we also use a person's emotional intelligence as a success indicator. Since brands resonate emotionally with people who come in contact with them, it doesn't make sense to measure their success strictly on numbers alone."

Jacobs says that companies who measure branding ROI by numbers alone have difficulty getting a true picture of the intrinsic value of their brands. "By nature, the value of a brand is tough to quantify accurately. Often, assumptions have to be included in the ROI metrics, which make the numbers less meaningful overall," he said. Jacobs believes qualitative information gives depth and perspective that can't be measured numerically. Jacobs asserts, "By measuring your brand's emotional intelligence, companies can achieve an unmatched level of depth, strength and richness in their brand positioning."

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