Today as we wrap up our seven-week branding series, we are going to focus not on specific branding strategies, but one of the biggest reasons why it has become so important to put all of the information we have discussed into use.
More than ever before, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are focused on building strong brands for their companies.
According to the most recent CMO Survey from Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, CMOs this year expect to allocate a significantly larger portion of their budget toward brand building.
Those CMOs have generally reported solid increases in their brand value, and are banking on that value increasing exponentially by increasing the amount they invest in their brands.
So what does this mean for business owners? We will take a closer look at some of these trends below, but ultimately, this greater focus on brand building means small business owners must focus on establishing and strengthening their brand images as well if they are to keep pace with the other companies that have already made this a priority.
More spending on branding
Over the next year, the CMOs who responded to the Duke University survey (a highly respected biennial study) expect to increase the amount they spend on building their brand by nearly 10 percent (9.7 percent). This is significantly more than the average increases of 4.3 to 6.3 percent in the previous two years’ worth of information taken from these surveys.
The amount CMOs are expected to increase their spending on branding is even greater than other areas of marketing, including CRM (7.9 percent) and marketing research (5.3 percent). Overall marketing budgets are expected to rise by about 10.7 percent throughout the year, indicating a greater enthusiasm in marketing and faith in the economy.
Service-based companies are expanding their branding even more than product-based companies, with B2B service companies (13.3 percent) seeing an even larger rise than B2C service companies (11.3 percent). B2B companies in general are increasing their investments in their brands to a larger extent than B2C, particularly focusing on inbound marketing.
Brand values continue to increase
One of the reasons why CMOs are so eager to increase their branding investments is the rate at which brand values themselves are increasing. This most recent survey saw CMOs reporting an average of a 3.8 percent increase in brand value over the last year, compared to 3.3 percent last year. Brand value growth outpaced growth rates in metrics such as consumer retention (1.5 percent) and acquisition (3.1 percent).
Here again, B2B companies are seeing faster rates of increase than B2C companies. B2B service and product companies saw value increases of 4.2 and 4.1 percent, respectively, while B2C service and product companies saw increases of 1.9 and 3.9 percent, respectively.
With the increase in spending and value alike, CMOs are expected to focus much more attention on branding in general throughout the year. About 86.5 percent of people who responded to the Duke University survey said marketing is primarily responsible for the existence and strength of a brand, more likely than activities such as social media (77 percent), advertising (76 percent), public relations (70 percent) and promotion (69 percent).
All of this data means one thing: businesses that have not already clearly defined their brands and laid out a branding strategy run the risk of falling way behind the competition this year if they don’t get moving now.
Over the last seven weeks, we have talked about many of the most important aspects of and strategies for branding. Now’s the time to get started. Contact us at Viral Solutions today if you need assistance in preparing your branding strategy, and we will be happy to work with you.
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