Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”

The headline above is a quote from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. If you believe it’s true, then you will realise that brand has very little to do with the size of your logo and more to do with the service you deliver every day.

‘Brand’ is often used as an excuse for poor marketing. I’ve lost count of the number of failed marketing campaigns that were deemed to be a success because they created ‘brand awareness’.

The truth is that not many companies can afford a ‘marketing brand’. If you have the budget you can repeat your logo – big and bold – over and over again like an amphetamine-powered mantra in the hope your audience becomes brain-washed. But that requires big bucks.

Most companies, especially in B2B, don’t have that sort of budget. They rely on a ‘service brand’ or ‘product brand’, where the quality of what they do every day generates positive emotions.

In this situation, the role of marketing is primarily to generate sales leads – leaving ‘brand’ to the sales, customer service, delivery or production team.

Your content marketing can add to the perception of your brand, positioning you as an authority and thought leader, but it will never be able to smooth over the negative impact of poor service or product.

Marketing is a science, as such we should be able to prove a return on investment (ROI). For every £1 spent on marketing, you should get £3, £10 or £100 in return.

So next time your marketing department try to justify the lack of sales leads by saying the campaign created ‘brand awareness’, tell them you are cutting their budget because you want to create ‘awareness’ of ROI.