When companies get branding right early on, they can spend less on advertising and marketing because they're able to establish advocates and ambassadors on the ground. They pass down their identity, culture, and values to their products, and then to their customer base. All this then translates into less spending on persuasion and engagement because those who meet the brand and share its purpose are hooked from day one.
Furthermore, customers won’t always trust advertisements or marketing strategies, but they will trust a compelling, strong brand. That’s because it takes time and a continued effort to build that perception amongst an audience. While marketing may help drive immediate ROI, faithful branding is focused on the long-run and thus best represents itself by increasing metrics like customer Lifetime Value (LTV).
Amongst the dozens of marketers we spoke with, the most frequent and important metric used by companies to help guide their brand development was return visitors, or repeat customers.
Content Marketing Specialist Steve Habazin has a few others he’s always thinking about as well: search intent, time spent on the website, and preferences within focus groups. Malte Scholz, Head of Product and Co-Founder at Airfocus, says he too looks at session length, and would add bounce rate and conversion rate to metrics that are helpful on providing direction around branding efforts. Better brands will score higher on these, all else equal. Furthermore, Tyler Butler of 11Eleven suggests brands should even look internally and survey employees on what they believe their brand stands for, and how that might differ from what leadership believes to be true.
In these ways, great branding can play a critical role in helping both decrease the cost of continuous marketing and advertisements to a specific target audience, while also working to increase the value of each customer over time through an earned sense of trust. Getting "brand-market" fit right early on can help companies build moats that may not be related to the product or service. In short, when done right, a company's brand can be just as, if not more, valuable than what the company is selling.