The Power of the Brand
We live in a branded world. Period. Before you left your house this morning to go to work and read this article, you have loyally engaged with at least a dozen brands…and you consistently do so every morning without fail. These brands have become entrenched into your daily routine. The careful curation of successful brands enables companies to silently manipulate your consumer behaviour and control your purchasing power. In consumer-oriented industries, oftentimes it is the brand, rather than the product or service itself, that draws you in and keeps you coming back for more.
This silent power is a significant corporate asset. In fact, Interbrand’s recently released report quantifies the value of corporate brands and estimates the top global brand to be valued at $185,154m (US). No surprise that this massive corporate asset is owned by Apple Inc. Think about the power of this brand to infiltrate your personal life…to irrevocably shape your consumer behaviour…to shape pop culture.
What does a brand entail? It’s a lucid concept…it encapsulates that “je ne sais quoi” factor. But make no doubt about it, every point of interaction with a customer (real or potential) is an opportunity to create a distinct, unique and powerful point of interaction that reinforces the prominence of that brand in your life. Let me provide some examples:
a) You’re at a movie, the lights go down, all of sudden you hear a lion’s roar. You instinctively know which company produced that movie;
b) You come home from work, exhausted, racking your brain on what to make for dinner. You’re rummaging through your fridge, with the TV on in the background. You hear the jingle, 967-1111. Bam! Your next thoughts: “Honey, how do you feel about pizza tonight?”;
c) You’re at an event and you see the woman in front of you walking away with red-bottomed shoes…you’ve got a pretty good idea how much she paid for those shoes.
That unspoken and subconscious dialogue between the brand and the consumer is invaluable. Trademarks lay at the foundation of any brand. For the sake of brevity (and to avoid dreaded legal’ese), we can boil down the intricacies of trademarks law to this: If a branding indicia is able to connote in the consumer’s mind an association between the product and the company producing those products, it is possible that the company will be able to secure a monopoly over that power of persuasion by trademark protection.
As a branding lawyer, the power of the trademark, which can seem innocuous to some CEOs, fascinates me. Therein lies immense power that should be carefully curated and protected to ensure that your company and its brand sets itself apart from market competitors.