When most people think of branding they usually focus on quite superficial aspects such as their name, logo and product packaging. Contrary to such popular belief is that branding extends considerably beyond that to include aspects of Financial Capital (which create value for the product), Emotional Capital (which create consumer value) and Human Capital (which creates cultural value internal to the organisation).
This is the level of branding which most organisations focus on. The iconic capital focuses on brand perception; what people perceive the brand to be about, and includes things such as the name, logo, brand identity, packaging and social presence. These aspects contribute only to the surface branding of a product, whereas the following contributes towards the experience which that brand provides.
The financial capital of a brand relates to the overarching strategic plan for the brand, how the item will be positioned against industry competitors, how things such as the brand image will be represented by both the marketing strategy adopted by the brand owner and by the culture of the business itself. The type of management structure in a business will play a significant role in determining this, as that leadership will decide which approach is taken towards the commercial aspects of the brand; sales strategy, marketing strategy and strategic investor relationships.
A brand’s emotional capital focuses more on the relationship between the consumer and the brand, and relates to such things as customer loyalty and the consumer’s engagement with the brand. Social Media Marketing plays a significant role in this area as customers will want to feel like they connect with a brand, and a major contributor to that is how important the customer feels by being associated with it. Strategies such as customer loyalty programs are key to this aspect of brand development. Businesses who maintain a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) and regularly follow up with customers to see how satisfied they are with their products also contributes to this.
A mechanism for assessing how well a company has implemented their Emotional Capital is through the “Net Promoter Score” (NPS); which (amongst other things) measures the loyalty a customer has to a business. In essence, this poses the question to the consumer; “How likely is it that you would recommend this brand (company / product / service) to a friend or colleague?”
A brand’s Human Capital looks at the internals of a business to determine the level of staff commitment and investment into the company’s brand. Whereas Emotional Capital looks outwardly at the relationship between the brand and the consumer, Human Capital looks inwardly at the relationship between the brand and those who are working to support, promote and develop it. Companies with a high level of Human Capital will typically have a good staff retention and a healthy number of new applicants seeking to work for the company in order to add that brand to their resume.