Brand Equity Left Volume Selling in the Dust. Are You Keeping Up?

When I ask a client about their goals, it’s common to receive an answer about driving more conversions, increasing traffic, getting more social followers, etc. For a while, I nodded my head, looked at historic data, and used trendlines to set realistic goals going forward.

The thing is, there’s something wrong with doing this. It’s related to communication and a lack of connecting on certain issues or initiatives. I’m a pretty solid marketer and I can help a company achieve its goals. I help keep goals realistic and I direct my team to drive success to achieve them.

I swear, I’m not bragging. If anything I’m actually berating myself a little here.

This approach leads to challenging meetings with stressed clients who exhibit wild mood swings meeting-to-meeting. Truth is, we didn’t uncover the real goal here, and sadly it’s actually common sense *embarrassed face*.

Buyer Persona Research Will Help Boost Brand Equity

All your clients care about from you is the bottom line because they want a more profitable company. I’ve been exposed to marketers who want to support companies who see the importance in their culture and the perpetuation of it. I agree with this completely, and as marketers, we should be using culture to amplify a brand.

If we focus on amplifying the brand, then we would want to know about a company’s mission, culture, etc., and use it for amplification.

What I mean by this is using messaging that resonates with people who are attracted to this kind of company. This is achieved through strong buyer persona research. Side note: if you haven’t read “Buyer Personas” by Adele Revella, you probably should stop reading this post and go take care of that.

Okay, I’m sure you get the point, buyer personas are important, so where do you start?

I get that there are a lot of templates for building buyer personas and they ask for data points like age, gender, education, where they might live, professional status, etc. I recommend looking beyond these broad data points, however, it’s good to be aware of them.

Basing all of your persona research off this surface level analysis isn’t going to help you stand out, and that’s the overarching goal here.

By observing a company and the attitude of it, we can begin to piece together who wants to engage with it. This might be something that’s achieved by looking at a company’s brand identity and widdling down the people who wouldn’t want to engage with it.

Be authentic, comfortably exist within a company’s culture code and ask:

  • Who would be offended by the way I talk (I being the voice of the company’s brand)?
  • Who would be bored with what I’m talking about?
  • Who’s going to change the subject and shift the conversation away from the company’s message?

Once we begin asking questions like this, the natural progression is to ask:

  • Who’s going to appreciate what we’re talking about?
  • Who would engage with the way we’re talking
  • Who would appreciate our temperament and appearance?
  • Who would identify with the social mores that shape our company?

Getting This Deep with Buyer Personas Provides Brand Equity

One of my friends told me that we were such good friends because we have “effortless chemistry”.

Getting to this kind of territory with your audience takes research and gives your messaging incredible power. The gravity of this kind of persona research is tremendous because it enables us to speak with our audience in a way that no one else can. This builds trust but it also builds value.

If people identify with a company, it’s consistent voice, what it stands for and how it carries itself, then brand equity begins to get established. This company stands out and its services become unique too. These services become harder to replace and thus their price becomes more elastic.

A smart company would set its price based on being irreplaceable.

Now that a bond has been made between a company and an intricately tailored audience we can set prices based on value, not volume optimization.

Your clients don’t want to sell more to make more, even if they say they do, it’s an inefficient strategy.

Let’s look at an example:

50% increase in sales from 1,000 units to 1,500 units.

Sales figures with 1,000 units sold at $50/unit:

Per unit sale price: $50

Revenue: $50,000

Fixed cost: $15,000

Per unit cost: $20

Total unit cost: $20,000

Profit: $15,000

Profit from 1,000 units sold = $15,000

Sales figures with 1,500 units sold at $50/unit:

Per unit sale price: $50

Revenue: $75,000

Fixed cost: $15,000

Per unit cost: $20

Total unit cost: $30,000

Profit: $30,000

Profit from 1,500 units sold = $30,000 (100% increase in profit)

Let’s look at another scenario, and instead of a 50% increase in the number of units sold let’s increase the unit price by 50%.

Sales figures with 1,000 units sold at $75/unit:

Per unit sale price: $75

Revenue: $75,000

Fixed cost: $15,000

Per unit cost: $20

Total unit cost: $20,000

Profit: $40,000

Profit from 1,000 units sold = $40,000 (About 165% increase in profit)

This comparison is assuming a few constants that I don’t think will remain constant.

  • If you establish brand equity chances are sales will increase at least a little.
  • Increasing the volume of sales dramatically will eventually impact fixed costs (new or larger facilities, needing more vehicles for delivery, increased insurance for increased resources, etc). Without establishing brand equity this can work against creating economies of scale.

Increasing Sales Volume vs Increasing Brand Equity

For anyone who says “building brand equity takes a lot of work”, I recommend evaluating how much effort goes into building a content calendar, creating content and performing the persona research around that content.

Few agencies don’t do any persona research, and the ones that don’t are definitely getting left behind, so it’s not like the effort put into persona research to build brand equity is specific to the effort of building equity. It’s being done regardless.

Why not consider how hard it is to take that persona a step further, stand out, talk to people like no one else is, and price your product for people who really want it?

I’m an advocate of growth marketing, but not marketing for the sake of growth. Growing can happen with or without brand equity, but if profitability is the goal (and it is, or it should be if it isn’t), then brand equity needs to be the focus.