Selling Brand Evolution To The C-suite

Still can’t convince management they should upgrade your brand? Try these 6 arguments. Earlier this year, Brand Finance released its annual study: “Global 500: The most valuable brands of 2017.” The study reports that the monetary value of the Google brand increased to $109.5 billion last year, representing a year-over-year increase of 24%. Google is […]

Still can’t convince management they should upgrade your brand? Try these 6 arguments.

Earlier this year, Brand Finance released its annual study: “Global 500: The most valuable brands of 2017.” The study reports that the monetary value of the Google brand increased to $109.5 billion last year, representing a year-over-year increase of 24%. Google is now the most valuable brand in the world, replacing Apple, which had held the spot since 2011. (Click here to see Brand Finance’s full list.)

The people at Google and Apple know (and believe in) something many companies do not: Brands Matter. Financially, operationally and emotionally. But in conference rooms across the globe, convincing management of the value and importance of brand evolution is often more difficult than it should be. For many companies, especially publicly traded ones, the desire for short-term profits too often clouds the strategic path that allows a brand to grow and prosper.

“What is a brand really worth and why should we invest in developing, redeveloping, or refreshing ours?”

If you’ve tried to convince your management, board, or investors on the importance of building your brand and have been met with something less than enthusiasm — here are a few ‘argument rebuttals’ you may want to consider before trying again:

  1. “We Can’t Afford To Build Our Brand.” Yes, brand building represents an investment of both time and money. And, unlike short-term sales or promotional efforts, the payoff is not always immediate. But unless you sell a commodity product/service with no differentiation, the question isn’t whether you can afford to build your brand, but whether you can afford not to. Without a brand to work as an umbrella for understanding, marketing and sales efforts must each start from scratch. Over time, strong brands reduce overall marketing expense and increase sales momentum. True brands don’t create expense, they create value.
  2. “We Need To Concentrate On Sales, Not The Brand.” This is an offshoot of the above question, said in a more pointed manner. Sales and Brand are not mutually exclusively, and in fact (if built properly), they are intrinsically tied. With a proper brand platform in place, brands breed sales at a reduced cost. If built correctly, every sale becomes a chance to not only produce revenue, but reinforce the brand proposition. This brand+sales ‘flywheel’ effect creates its own, ongoing momentum over time.
  3. “You Can’t Measure The Value Of Brands.” Well…yes you can. The key is to first understand what is important to your organization and then tie brand metrics to those priority elements. Here, one size does not fit all. (At Cohesion, we’ve been measuring the value of brands for nearly 20 years.)
  4. “We Just Rebranded A Few Years Ago.” Perhaps the most telltale sign that an organization truly doesn’t understand what a is and/or should be managed. First, it signals that a brand effort is somehow a ‘snapshot’ in time. A one-time event that delivers logos, colors, taglines, etc. (Sometimes, this viewpoint is a result of mistaking a brand with visual outcome vs. strategic intent.) Proper brand evolution is an evergreen, nurturing process that requires constant tweaking and adapting. Brands that sit idly waiting for the next ‘rebranding’ effort, often die from lack of purpose and relevance. Constant refreshing is the answer.
  5. Brands Aren’t Important In The Digital Age.” While technology continues to drive new efficiencies and new tools for sales and marketing functions, it has also given rise to a pervasive best-practices mentality: A point-of-view that is effective in operations, finance and even sales and marketing process development, but one that is counter-productive to the brand positioning and development. Read more, here.
  6. “Our Logo And Design Identity Are Just Fine.” Strong brands — indeed, TRUE brands are built on a foundation of three (3) elements: Strategy, Messaging and Visual Expression. And while ‘Visual Expression’ may now be the lead and/or preferred tool, it is no more important to the overall foundation that Strategy or Messaging (though it may be arguably more important to the outcome). But mistaking the Visual Expression of the brand for THE WHOLE BRAND, is a grave error. Read more, in Design Focus vs. Strategic Focus.

If you’d like Cohesion to share more of its experience in selling the value of brand evolution and brand development to senior management, just contact us here.

Perhaps your organization faces a brand challenge, or has the need to develop, or re-develop a brand strategy, platform or message? If so, I know a brand firm that can help.


Brian Creath is the president and strategy director of Cohesion, a nationally recognized, St. Louis-based strategic brand agency. He has helped hundreds of businesses and brands achieve success in a 30-year career. Read more of Brian’s point-of-view, here. Email him at bcreath@cohesioncompany.com.

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