Brand custodianship is something that should be taken seriously these days. With Brands having valuations in excess of billions attached to them, it makes sense to treat them as valued assets that must be managed with care. Though it seems counter-intuitive, brand custodianship may be actually better done in an outsourced model. Like we consult our accounting firm, or legal advisors before key decisions, a brand custodian can be someone outside the company who looks at activities from a brand-centric point of view and advises and informs the company accordingly. Within a company, sales pressure and and quarterly performance cycles may overshadow the need to protect and grow the brand. Marketing and Sales teams may tend to overlook the long term effects of day-to-day campaigns and promotions on brand value and brand perception.
Just like new product slogans or campaigns are referred to Legal before being finalised, corporate communication and marketing/sales activities might benefit from a layer of brand advisory which functions independently of pressures, and is staffed by competent experts with exposure to multiple brands and the science of brand building.
Brand consultants can help a small team starting up a company build and nurture their brand, maintaining consistency, message clarity, correct targeting and brand positioning as the company grows. This builds a distinct identity in the minds of the customer and avoids confusing and overlapping messaging. Over time, staying on message and following brand guidelines enables customers to understand clearly the vision, mission, spirit, personality and positioning of a brand, and makes the company easily recognisable and connects with customers at an emotional level.
One can decide to be a friend to customers or to be a teacher to them. A company can aim to build a cult like following or want to be one of the gang. Whatever the aim, the brand defines its target, its vision, its personality and its style and stays true to it, evolving over time to grow and strengthen its connection with customers. Be it a Coca Cola, an Apple or IBM, they represent a distinct identity to their customers and have bonded at an emotional and subconscious level with them. This sum total of connections represents the value and power of their brand, independent of efficiency of sales or production, and is a tangible quantity measured in X amount of money. This shows that brand building is not just a supporting function of sales, but is actually a value creator.
A strong and independent brand custodian is needed to build a brand. Like a child, a brand needs careful nurturing to develop and grow.