Is It Time To Reinvent Branding?


Why ‘brand’ needs to be on every boardroom agenda?

Those that invest in branding, rather than just advertising, will survive the next decade. Those that don’t, won’t.

Did you know that there are NO LSE Top 30 (predecessor to the now FTSE 100) entities around in exactly the same guise i.e. brand and business constituency as there was 50 years ago! And yet brand investment is still largely undervalued. In my experience, many brand owners treat brand building superficially, believing that it’s more important to make brute-force impressions through large advertising campaigns. So passé. Sorry if I offend. But frankly, I only want to appeal to those that truly want to engage and invest in branding. I’m not interested in executives who think the slap and a tickle of a brand marque is branding. See you in the next decade …

…or probably not.

I love being part of a team of brand builders at Honey. It’s what excites me. Ask anyone who has ever met me – I care deeply about seeing you and your brand for what you are uniquely brilliant at, taking these insights and turning them into engagement with your true advocates – customers and consumers. It will lead to a strong loyal relationship, which ultimately leads to commercial growth.


So let’s ask a few basic questions…

Can you define your brand position distinctively?
What does your brand mean to your consumers, to your employees?
Do your consumers believe that you really care what they think of your brand?
Do your employees represent the brand you intend to communicate to advocates or loyal consumers?

Consumers need to see your brand as “set apart”. Can you articulate your brand position in one simple, powerful statement? If you answer no to any of these questions, then you need to invest in your brand to ensure you can. Consumers will only buy if they believe in what they are buying.

Simple, yet so many of us forget this. Consumer engagement only comes with clarity, but clarity demands some sacrifice. What are you willing to stand for, and what are you willing to give up? How brave are you? How committed to delivering consistency? Brand distinctiveness is key to brand health.

Do you balance your investment in branding development with your investment in advertising and marketing? I would challenge anyone who does not.

Business owners are not investing enough in their brands

Of course I would say this, I hear you think. But let me put it another way: Would you invest in an architect if you were building a house that you expect to last for more than 100 years? Branding is the same – investing in brand strategy is investing in your brand’s architecture to ensure it lasts for more than 100 years. Who is the architect of your company’s market strategy? Who defines the brand promise? Who defines customer-value propositions to support and reinforce the brand promise? Is branding being “off-shored” to your advertising agency?

Executives like to talk about strong brands as platforms for sustained growth. In the management literature, the link between brand equity and shareholder value is well accepted. So, why is the investment for brand building not more actively managed in the executive suite?

“Investing in brand strategy is investing in your brand’s architecture to ensure it lasts for more than 100 years.”


Are branding agencies to blame?

In our work across a variety of sectors, we often see companies failing to “walk the walk” – unable to grasp the link between the investment in brand health and competitive performance. But are branding agencies, in part, to blame for this?

At Honey, we place great importance on the relationship between brand building and return on investment – so far we’ve won 11 DBA Awards for achieving commercial growth for our clients through our creative work. But perhaps the problem is that overall the creative sector is still seen solely as a source of creativity. But this is confusing the tool with the objective.

Building a brand’s commercial health should be a fundamental objective in any creative brief, and no work on a brand can start without this understanding. At Honey we call this ‘Immersion’. Our approach is to build commercial power through intelligent, well-informed innovation. This means that investment in research and analysis always informs the creative process, and never the other way around.

As the Swiss say, “It’s all in the planning.”

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