Four ways to build strong brands
There are four elements that strong, successful and valuable brands have in common: they focus on purpose, innovation, experience and drive love. Not all of them achieve all of these things in equal measure, and some excel in just one or two areas. But all of these four attributes have a strong correlation with brand value and value growth.
This is something that drives a brand beyond what its products literally do for the people who buy them. A sense of purpose is becoming increasingly important, particularly to younger consumers, who are looking to associate themselves with brands they feel are doing good for the world. For other consumers, a sense of purpose can be comforting in times of uncertainty. People choose a mobile network, a bank or a tea brand in part because of the practical benefits they see, but it’s also about how that brand makes them feel, and purpose has a lot to do with that. Purpose is what a brand sets out to achieve, beyond making money. It is the way a brand makes people’s lives better.
BrandZ research tracking the Top 100 Global Brands shows that brands with a clear purpose grew in value at three times the rate of other brands, on average, over the past 12 years. In Indonesia, the difference is even more clearly marked.
Making it happen
The bottled water brand Aqua has two clear missions that go beyond simply selling more bottles of water to more people. The brand has worked hard – and prominently – for many years to help provide access to clean drinking water to remote parts of the country. It has also focused on the importance of good hydration to people’s health. Neither of these missions shifts more product in the short term, but they show clearly what Aqua stands for, and that helps Aqua stand out. The brand has a purpose score in BrandZ research of 124, which makes it 24 percent more purposeful than the average brand.
Innovative brands are seen as doing something new, and as such, they tend to get talked about and tried. When trial goes well, that can lead to a longer-term relationship and, ultimately love, which correlates strongly with innovation. Often, innovation is associated with technology brands, but innovation is something that all brands and all categories can achieve, whether it’s innovation in the actual product that they sell, or an innovative approach to customer service. It could even be a fresh take on a category, or extension into a new category. Some of the most innovative challenger brands we have seen in recent years have shaken up a category with little experience of it; being an outsider with a fresh pair of eyes has helped them breathe new life into a sector. Innovation doesn’t just get a brand talked about – it pays off. It is a key ingredient in brand contribution, and that is linked to a strong growth trajectory for brand value.
Making it happen
Traveloka is an online travel agency that keeps expanding and updating its offering so that it’s always leading the category. As well as coming up with innovations, the brand also invests heavily in communicating the fact that it’s innovating, and is one of the biggest-spending brands in Indonesia on advertising. The site was a flight-booking center when it launched, and has since moved into hotels and other services such as train tickets, and frequently adds new services, such as the ability to change travel dates if you’re already on holiday and want to extend your stay. Traveloka has an innovation score in BrandZ research of 132, putting it 32 percent ahead of the average of all brands, and 12 percent ahead of the next-best technology brand.
Experience refers to the way a person interacts with a brand, so to deliver a good experience, food has to taste good, an appliance has to work, and a retailer has to have in stock the things a shopper is looking for. But experience extends beyond the moment of consumption, and beyond the moment in which a purchase decision is made. It means every interaction that a person has with a brand, so that’s the way they feel when they see an ad, their experience navigating a web site, how long they have to wait when they call customer service, and how they dispose of their product packaging. A brand not only has to deliver a great experience at every point of interaction, and help consumers all along the way, it also has to remind consumers, through effective communications, that it is focused on doing this well.
Brand experience helps cement a consumer’s relationship with a brand.
Top-ranking ‘experience’ brands from the Indonesia Top 50 2017
Making it happen
Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia, has a BrandZ experience score of 131, which makes it 31 percent stronger in this area than the average brand. The experience of flying with Garuda is infused with what the brand stands for, which is representing the best aspects of Indonesian culture to travellers around the world. Indonesian cuisine features in in-flight meals, flight attendants’ uniforms have a batik print, and traditional music plays during boarding. The diversity of Indonesia and the quality of service are reflected in the brand’s advertising, most recently through its “Hands” campaign, which shows just how many people contribute to a Garuda experience.
The BrandZ measure of love doesn’t just acknowledge how caring a brand seems to be, though giving consumers the feeling that they’re cared for is no bad thing. Love in this instance is the emotional affinity of a brand, and it’s something that can’t be bought or manufactured. That said, if brands take the time and care to invest in promoting a higher purpose, innovating, and delivering a consistently great experience, then love tends to happen naturally. In fact the link between innovation and love is particularly strong, and some of the most loved brands in the world – names like Nike, for instance – are also among the most innovative. And in the times between innovation, love is often what sustains the consumer relationship with a brand.
Making it happen
Indomie noodles have been loved by generations of Indonesians and are loved by people across the country from all walks of life. In its products and its communications, the brand reflects pride in its Indonesian heritage. It uses local recipes in its new product innovations, and its advertising shows it bringing to life the many flavors of Indonesia. It brings physical satisfaction through its taste and convenience, and emotional satisfaction because it’s associated with comfort and familiarity. On the BrandZ love scale, Indomie scores 142, which makes it 42 percent more loved than the average brand.