The Power of a Brand

Ryan Heshmati

June 9, 2023

They're all over the place. Nike: just do it. BMW: the ultimate driving machine. American Express: don't live life without it. Brands engulf our television shows, sports outings, and commutes. Branding involves more than an organization's name; it involves their identity. For instance, continuing with BMW, they have built an identity around performance as the cornerstone of luxury and sport. Ashley Friedlein asserts, "Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Branding is about shaping that perception." There is a complexity behind the building of brand identity; marketing executives charge products and services forward using the power of the brand. 

Slogans are a major part of every brand, and few beat Apple's "think different." In 1997, after returning to Apple following the creation of a startup named NeXT, Steve Jobs decided that the pitch "we're back" was premature and wanted something else. Multiple ad agencies were brought in, but ultimately Craig Tanimoto's "think different" became the face of the brand. In Forbes, Rob Siltanen claims, "When the 'Think Different' campaign launched, Apple immediately felt the boost despite having no significant new products."

That is the power of a brand.

Beyond engaging customers, brands play an important role in retaining them. Forbes' AJ Agrawal points to their need to build credibility and trust, pillars to the loyal customer. JD Power's 2021 Automotive Brand Loyalty Study is quite telling. With its "ultimate driving experience" identity, BMW has 45.6% loyalty; whereas, Jaguar, a company that has struggled with its brand, sits at 17.1%. That is a deeply disappointing figure for Jaguar, less than 1 in 5 remain loyal to the company beyond one vehicle. Without a definite direction, a company can end up trading hands over and over between companies as different as Ford and Tata Motors as a result of its inability to meet the mark.

Determination to survive must be paired with major branding and advertising efforts within corporations. The success and failure of products and companies rely upon an understanding of the requirement to build bonds with consumers. Branding is what propelled Apple forward with "think different" and kept Jaguar back as a result of indefinite direction. Sara Fischer of Axios notes GroupM, a worldwide advertising agency, predicts the global industry will be worth $1 trillion by 2025. Money continues to be poured into this area because of the understanding of executives at the top that branding may be the determining factor in whether their business is the next Jaguar or Apple.