Why Is Branding Important?
By Ibby Smith Stofer
You may have heard the expression; a picture is worth a thousand words. In business, the picture that comes to mind as you are considering a purchase is often the link that directs customers to their product or service. Think for a moment, if you will. When you think of frozen vegetables, tuna or peanuts what images and or names come to mind? For many Mr. Peanut, Charlie the Tuna, and the Jolly Green Giant are almost automatically chosen. Perhaps, that is why a company’s logo is the link used to aid customers to recall their products or services. But a logo or brand mark is just only one part of establishing a refined brand.
The Business Dictionary defines brand as a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. A brand name is that part of the brand than can be spoken, including letters, words and numbers. The elements of a brand that cannot be spoken are called the brand mark or logo. Businesses depend on finding the right combination to reflect both what they do, why they are different, and what they stand for as it relates to their customers. The hope is that the brand becomes associated with its values and consumers can identify the business as a quality organization.
Your company name plays a vital role in your brand. For Med One Capital, our name expressed to the marketplace that we primarily dealt with some form of finance. That is the connotation of “capital.” This was true, but the business as well as the customer’s needs often went beyond providing a capital finance solution. Med One responded in several ways over the past decades. We added rental services, sales of preowned devices and biomedical services. Reflecting the services, we offer, we chose to update our name to Med One Group.
Med One Capital began in 1991 with the intent to become the number one choice of healthcare providers in need of capital to allow them access to new medical devices. The name Med One Capital combined the purpose, and dream of the founders to make medical equipment available and became the foundation for many business decisions.
Shortly after the company launched, it found that the needs of the medical device manufacturers were equally as challenging. Forming business relationships with leading financial service companies such as Med One Capital would allow the device company to meet the budgetary issues of the healthcare providers without deferring the revenue. This fit well with Med One Capital’s desire to make medical equipment available without needing to invest and employ a direct sales organization.
For years following our launch, our name told our story to both acute care hospital providers and medical device suppliers. We often became the number one choice when capital to acquire medical equipment was needed. Our new name, Med One Group also accurately tells our story. We no longer focus only on our lease programs; we also offer medical equipment rentals, sales, and biomedical services.
A brand mark or logo is critical to your identity as a brand. Here is a look at some of the most recognized logos and their originating design. How many can you name correctly?
How did you do? (Key at bottom) As you can see, as companies mature and their message changes, many choose to update logos as well as names. Updating these two elements are key ways to rebuild brand awareness.
Often when companies are first established the logo and brands chosen are mistakenly given little thought or time. Companies initially focus on their product offerings, their potential customers and how to get off and running. Logos and brand identity are not considered critical at this point in a company launch. Some will simply choose to name the company for the owners or product. As an initial step, this may work but over time most companies evolve.
Med One has evolved and so has the logo. The new Med One logo below reflects the core strengths that have supported us for the past decades and will always reflect the way we will do business with our customers. A stylized "M" is at the center with a subtle number one helping to form the letter as well as represent our goals to reach new heights. Our new brand also contains 3 pillars of success representing our commitment to creativity, simplicity and responsiveness.
For some companies, the brand is so well known that any change can have unexpected reactions. Among these, you can probably remember when Coke went to a new formula and logo (the new Coke) or when GAP decided to update its logo. Coke had to revert to the original name of just Coke and went back to the original formula as well. GAP changed the look of the logo and the social media feedback led to an almost immediate change back. For many the most memorable failure of good intent is AOL’s modernization attempt that backfired quickly. What were they trying to tell us with this new logo?
As a brand identity is changing, understanding and anticipating the customers and market reaction is critical. Undertaking change without positioning a compelling reason will most often result in unintended negative reaction such as the examples above.
So, when and why should companies consider making changes to their brand?
Some of the reasons include:
- Merger with another company
- Acquisition by another firm
- Expansion of product or service offerings to both new and existing markets
- Desire and intent to change consumer and market perception of the business focus
All of this can be best demonstrated by looking at an example.
Let’s explore the example of CVS, a retail pharmacy with over 7,700 locations. They were trusted by many as a one of the best places to go to pick up prescriptions, as well as assorted sundry items. Back in 2013, their corporate name was CVS Caremark. They were the 2nd largest retail pharmacy in America and were ranked 13th in Forbes Top 500 Companies. From an outsider’s view, they seemed to be rolling along and there was no need to change. That year though, they surprisingly announced that they would no longer sell cigarettes in their stores. While many saw this as a bold move, most missed that they were changing strategic direction.
Here is how the CVS CEO, Larry J. Merlo, explained why they were walking away from $2 billion in revenues by no longer selling cigarettes:
“Our company does a lot of different things and at first glance it may be difficult to see how they’re all related. We run retail stores and pharmacies. We operate retail health clinics. We administer prescription benefit plans. We sponsor and conduct health care research. Yet everything we do is tied together by one important idea: we are committed to reinventing pharmacy for better health.”
Continuing the transition and commitment to be a health service hybrid CVS Health became its new name and all divisions are identified with supporting America’s challenge of better health. Name change, logo change, and repositioning its direction have had good if not great returns for the company. CVS Health offers multiple services dedicated to meeting the needs of healthcare. These are illustrated in this exert from their corporate site.
Med One Group, like CVS, has evolved and yet maintains its original commitment to make medical equipment available to healthcare providers. There are many similarities although our businesses are very different.
Med One’s services are now clearly identifiable to our customers and others. Our new logo reflects these core strengths that have supported us for the past decades and will always reflect the way we will do business with our customers. A stylized "M" is at the center with a subtle number one helping to form the letter as well as represent our goals to reach new heights. Our new brand also contains 3 pillars of success representing our commitment to creativity, simplicity and responsiveness. These are the values that our customers associate with the Med One brand.
Hospitals, device manufacturers and their sales representatives have relied on Med One to assist them in securing medical equipment when faced with capital shortages, short term needs or assistance in maintaining their equipment. This loyalty has served our company well. Industry experts often ask what is the secret to our success. It can be defined as listening to the customers, creatively responding to their changing needs and always doing so with honesty and integrity. Whether you need leasing, rental or sales we are excited to serve you.