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What could Caleb Followill of The Kings of Leon learn from Mike Love of The Beach Boys?

May 17, 2014

Brand value for one thing. Some of you may remember the Beach Boys 1963 hit “Be True To Your School.”  I do. Among the lyrics is “Let your colors fly, rah rah sis boom bah.”  But I will bet that most of you aren’t as true to your brands as you are your school? Do your brands get the same enthusiasm as your old school?  Do you support your brands with the same loyalty?  How many of us have a decal in the back window of our car with our company name? I must admit I don’t have a Brand Establishment sticker. But maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

Brands deserve that same kind of support.  But don’t take our word for it, two different studies, (2002 CJ Philips and 2009, Brand Finance) discovered that your intangible assets, including trademarks, patents and brand are worth from 67% to 75% of the market value of your company. That’s ROI, over time, that every CEO and board member can live with.

Let’s explore what it takes to build brand value, and therefore company balance sheet value, in your companies. First of all, you must have a brand and I assume most do. Let’s put it another way…everyone organization has a brand…it’s what you do with it that counts.

Some may have been through a formal brand development engagement and others may have built their brands over time, intuitively. It’s less important how the brand was built, rather that there really is one and it can be clearly communicated. But, after that, all employees must know what the brand is and support it, too. You do not want your brand to be a closely held secret. As well, your clients and customers must understand the benefits of doing business with your brand (and that’s not just price). Equally important are your brand’s suppliers, strategic partners and, surely, your distribution network and direct sales people. And again, no secrets here, your external communications such as ads, Web site, collateral materials, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn presence…all must all be “rah-rah” to and for the brand. Here’s a simple test to help evaluate the importance you are placing on your brand.

Evaluate these brand related activities from 1 to 10 in terms of importance, 10 being the best.

1. We know who we are, what we do differently from all competitors and we know why we do what we do. (1 – 10)

2. The leadership of our company clearly understands our brand distinction and promise.  (1 – 10)

3.  Our employees also know who we are, what we do differently and why we do it.  (1 – 10)

4. Our employees (including new hires) all receive thorough orientation about our brand and their individual roles in delivering our brand promise. (1 – 10)

5.  Our employees are encouraged and rewarded for being good brand ambassadors.  (1 -10)

6.  All of our sales and marketing materials clearly deliver our brand distinction and promise. (1-10)

7.  Our customers, clients, suppliers and sales staff clearly understand our brand promise and the value of doing business with us. (1 – 10)

8.  Our brand has an adequate budget for continued growth. (1 – 10)

9.  We routinely meet to discuss our company’s growth and brand momentum.  (1 – 10)

10. Our president/CEO is our brand’s most vocal brand evangelist. (1 – 10)

If you scored high on this, congratulations, you are doing better than most. But, less than100 means there is still work to be done to maximize the value of your business. If you scored poorly, get help right away. Check out the Brand Establishment’s ( Certified Firms’ member list for a Certified Brand Strategist who can help.

Remember The Kings of Leon question at the start of this? The Beach Boys built a pretty valuable surf culture brand themselves. If you just use the percentage paid in royalties by Mike Love, the original lead singer of the band, just to use the Beach Boys brand name today, it is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions – Rah, rah, sis boom bah. And that was built fifty years ago…what could your brand be worth? In fifty years will The Kings of Leon be the kings of brand value?

By Jim Hughes – founder, The Brand Establishment

About The Brand Establishment

The Brand Establishment perfected the first contemporary brand development process specifically for small to mid-sized advertisers more than two decades ago. These tools and procedures have been utilized by companies in virtually every business sector – hundreds of times.