A Brand is an Asset, Like Brick and Mortar

You’ve reviewed our proposal. Now you need to make sense of it all. Your company has one chance to make a first impression with your customers, but you only have so much capital…capital that must also cover all of the other 57 expenses that come at your business every month.

Having once been a start-up ourselves, FUEL has been in your position. We’re still a small business and still a start-up at heart as we click beyond two decades. We’re also acutely mindful that all expenditures impact all aspects of your business.

I’ll explain how we’ve learned to look at spending money on our own brand development and brand management, a practice also followed by all of our clients.

But let me backtrack a bit first.

I’ve stated many times elsewhere that advertising is a form of communication, a call to action. Advertising utilizes the brand platform to guide and inform where messaging and visuals are concerned, but advertising is implemented outward from the brand’s core.

Advertising should align with the brand, but advertising seeks to grab the customer’s attention for the next 15 minutes and motivate the customer to act. The brand as a whole will serve a company for the next 15-20 years and, in most cases, when done well should be a sound building block to success, just as brick and mortar is.

The brand is more akin to the relationship…the reason the customer might stop and view the ad in the first place. Advertising is an action taken by a company to solicit a desired response from a customer.

Most companies think of brand development and management as an expense, often lumped in with marketing and advertising. That is because historically brand management was considered by many to be the domain of marketing and advertising agencies.

In truth, brand development is an entirely different discipline, with a unique role in business communication, and should be considered a long term (capital) investment, the same as investing in equipment or even brick and mortar.

When a company is bought or sold, a key component to pricing is the strength and reach of the brand. That single component cannot explicitly be quantified by an accountant looking at your books, but it can be scored just the same.

Established brands have recently begun creating a Chief Brand Officer (CBO) role near the top of their organizational charts. The title says it all. By this trend, it is clear that brand development and management is becoming more widely recognized as a unique and vital discipline. It matters enough that companies are taking direct action to give brand development and management the attention it deserves.

So back to your proposal evaluation. There are lots of good proposals from good companies. You and your team have developed some criteria to score each proposal on, to attempt to quantify which would be the best fit for your project.

Be looking for cues on how they address brand.

Is brand development and management their core competency?

Do they take a holistic approach?

What does their track record look like?

Are they churn and burners or do they appear to go deep with clients, developing longstanding relationships?

Does your gut say that it is WORTH investing your hard-earned money in a relationship with this company…that they will produce an end product that has the same worth of brick and mortar?

Call us and let’s build something awesome together.

– John M.

Bill Bollman
Creative Director

Bill Bollman is FUEL’s Creative Director. Before co-founding FUEL in 2001, he worked for Horizon Communications, JW Morton and Basler Design Group. Bill studied Illustration at Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo, Iowa. An expert in the “old ways” of hands-on print production, these skills influence his work in the digital world to this day. His work throughout his career has been featured in international publications including Graphis, How International Design, Communication Arts, and The One Book as well as numerous design annuals and reference books.

Hometown: West Union, Iowa
Involved in Design and Marketing since 1988
Interests: Fitness, Travel, Movies