Return on investment, or ROI, it’s one of those buzz words that is always on the minds of executives in any major business decision. Branding being one of them — and rightly so. Branding is often not a small investment and can have a critical impact on business. With every opportunity to be gained through branding, there are also risks to be consider as well. So it isn’t surprising that the return on investment of a branding or rebranding endeavor be a concern. The good news is that branding has a ROI. However, because branding is often just as tangible as it is intangible, it cannot always be measured using traditional metrics.
Does this mean branding is immeasurable? No, there are certainly ways to help draw conclusions around the impact of branding by looking short-term at sales, profits, referral numbers and leads generated following the launch of a branding initiative. Many times after we launch a new brand, clients report seeing an increase in these aspects of their business which are often then attributed to our efforts. However, it’s important to note that while some immediate impact can be seen, many times these metrics are not measured overnight because branding doesn’t happen overnight — it’s ongoing. Branding isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and something to be looked at long-term versus short term.
When the value of branding comes into question, it’s important to remember that brand equity is often just as important (if not more) than anything that appears on a balance sheet. The ROI of branding often doesn’t appear as a dollar value because branding effects your business beyond the bottom line. Frequently branding’s ROI is more qualitative than quantitative. It’s about how customers think and feel about you and how it helps your brand foster relationships to promote growth that will effect the bottom line, in time.
Often times branding is viewed as an activity of the marketing department, but really it’s an activity of an entire organization. It’s something that infiltrates your business and is part of every touch point of the customer experience. Which is perhaps another reason why branding is often difficult to quantify. To really measure “branding,” you have to measure every activity of your organization. Branding is everything. It’s beyond marketing and a logo. It’s also how your sales people interact with prospects and clients, it’s your day-to-day operations, your customer service and even the internal culture of your business.
Branding’s ROI can often not be directly measured in the form of dollars and cents, but may be measured more so in terms of followers and sense. Value can be found by looking at the longevity of resulting loyal relationships — which ultimately is a gift that keeps on giving and perhaps the most valuable form of ROI of all.