Branding and Multipliers
Most companies see brand-building as a process of addition, where every touch point adds to the overall experience. They summarize that each point of contact adds to their brand’s overall equity. Yet, branding is not based on the process of addition. It’s based on multiplication. The greatest return doesn’t come from improving the variables with the most value but rather from improving those with the least. In fact, a single point of failure can negate everything.
Building an effective brand requires that the organization shifts its point-of-view to see each and every action it takes as a multiplier. We want to be very clear about this; we don’t believe that building a brand is a mathematical equation! What we are saying is that if you view your efforts and actions as multipliers, you’ll approach the problem differently and find those efforts to be more effective. So now that that’s been established, let’s do the math.
Let’s say Brand A scored nearly perfectly in two out of three variables, but COMPLETELY FAILED in that third. However, Brand B scored just above average across the board.
Brand A: 9 + 9 + 0 = 18
Brand B: 6 + 6 + 6 = 18
In an additive process, the results would be equal, when in fact the brand experience is not. The issue here is not the variables; it’s the equation. Brand value is the product of many variables. Price, functionality, product performance, et cetera. Each has a synergistic effect, so total failure in any given area means total failure in the brand.
Let’s look at Brands A and B again. This time, we’ll use multipliers.
Brand A: 9 x 9 x 0 = 0
Brand B: 6 x 6 x 6 = 216
As you can see, a single point of failure kills the viability of Brand A. This doesn’t mean that a brand should try to be all things to all people, nor that average brands triumph. What it does mean is your brand promise needs to be clearly defined, articulated and delivered upon. After all, your brand is the product of consumer expectation.
A zero variable can be overcome if consumers don’t place that variable into the equation. If they do, then that single point of failure will cancel the whole thing out. To be effective, your brand must not only be the best at what it does, it must also improve upon its weakest traits or remove those variables from the equation all together. This shifts the comparison from apples to apples, to apple to oranges.
If you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all!