top of page
  • Writer's pictureKeith Wells

"What's the value of branding in times like these?"

Somebody asked me this question about three hours ago. They're not (yet) a client, but we might work together - it depends on a few things, the first of which is to understand the difference between 'brand' and 'branding'. I don't think a new logo is going to help any business thrive over the next 2-3 years; but a proper brand and marketing strategy will.

This morning's conversation raised the usual concerns about budgets and priorities, but those are actually the ideas of investment and commitment. We agreed on a number of important points...

If something doesn't work, it's a cost. If it does, it's an investment. A quick look back over previous economic downturns shows time and again that those brands that continue to invest do far better than those that 'cut costs'. In the early 1980s, it's estimated that companies that maintained their marketing activities grew by more than 250% versus those that didn't. Twenty years later, when the dotcom bubble burst, businesses who saw only 'cost' needed something like 5 years' extra effort to catch up with those who preferred 'invest'.

The idea of commitment is also critical. All businesses need to show it to their clients, their consumers, their people and their partners - it's a part of marketing, and it should be driven by the brand. It also becomes evident in areas that really shouldn't be a target for cutting back: 'sustainability', for example. The very definition of that word talks of continuity and long-term, but already we're seeing businesses rowing back from their previous positions. Which only goes to show that they've never really understood that meaning...or what a brand is, to be honest.

Businesses need to show commitment to their brand. They should go back into its core definition, its value(s) and every aspect of its strategy, because it will make the difference between 'survive' and 'thrive' through this period. Look again at the brand architecture, and make sure it's describing the strategy, the focus and the key relationships of the business.

As my conversation partner this morning said, "this is not an argument for spending more, or an argument against spending less, it's an opportunity to spend better".

And, as we agreed before arranging another conversation for a week or so's time, this difficult period will be over one day. People will remember the commitment companies showed to them, and the habits formed (or strengthened) as a result of that behaviour will become the basis for another research study to be quoted in a few years. Clients will be asking the same question, inevitably, and the answer will be the same, inevitably.

26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page