What Billion-Dollar Brands Are Made Of

Nov 13, 2020 | Brand + Build, Learn + Launch

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “billion-dollar brands”? No, really, think about it for a second. Is it McDonald’s? Nike? Apple? Amazon? Was it another large firm, perhaps? More times than not, most of us would associate these major players as being “Billion-dollar brands”, but what is a billion-dollar brand, exactly? Well, broadly defined, a Billion-dollar brand is said to be “A brand that profits a billion dollars or more per year”. 

The Difference Between Value & Equity

Although this definition may be true, there’s so much more to it. These brands didn’t just pop into your mind because they netted a billion or more per year. They’ve built brand equity. Have you heard of the brands Carahsoft, Endeavor, or Drive Time? Well, they too are brands who have netted a billion dollars or more per year. So why were they not at the top of your mind? Becoming a billion-dollar brand requires more than just number crunching. It comes down to strategy and how you position your brand in the minds of consumers.

Presence vs Energy

Firstly, Billion dollar brands know how to make an emotional impression. Billion-dollar brands personify themselves to become successful. Consider a party. Who do you invite? How do you treat your guests? Are you fun, energetic, hospitable, or do you let your guests bring all of the energy? As a brand, you are the host and your target market are your guests. Billion dollar brands know it is essential to make and maintain personable customer relationships, and they are always aware of how they show up to their party. Coca-Cola is a great example of this. Let’s take a look at this ad, and analyze it for a second. 

Image Source: https://coolerinsights.com/2012/03/create-your-own-marketing-rites-and-rituals/coca-cola-open-happiness-ritual/

What kind of host do you think Coca Cola is? After looking at this, you’d probably perceive them to be someone who is the literal life of the party, right? They would make you feel warm, welcomed, greet you with an abundance of energy, and make sure you have the time of your life as their guest. Coca-Cola is someone who personifies themselves as a happy, go-lucky, energetic brand that desires to bring nothing but joy to those around them, and they show up this way, consistently.

They are that friend who wants everyone to be friends, and share the same love they desire to give others. You can see this personification take place in their “Share a Coke” campaign too. This is a campaign that utilized various first names of people and put them on the front of their bottles. It was designed and intended to encourage consumers to buy a coke, and share it with a friend whose name they found on the bottle. The campaign created unity amongst their target audience, and as a result, a billion dollar profit for their brand. 

Trendy vs Trend-setter

Secondly, Billion-dollar brands aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. No one admires the people who follow the trends, they admire the ones who set them. To become a Billion Dollar brand you must have something distinguishing you from the rest. Whether it’s your voice, pricing, store layout, or something else, you must always have something that makes you unique. Starbucks is a great example of this. What makes a cup of Starbucks so great? I’ll let you in on a secret, it’s no magic recipe. Starbucks made coffee trendy. They turned what was once an average cup of “joe” into a luxurious latte, and they did this through their strategy, design and layout. Here is a picture of a typical Starbucks interior: 

Image Source: https://www.vmsd.com/content/starbucks-portland-ore

Fancy, right? The dim lighting, wooden fixtures, and aromatic atmosphere makes you want to sit and stay for more than just 15 minutes, and that was their intention! Most importantly, Starbucks decided to set themselves apart from the crowd by building a luxurious atmosphere, taking them far beyond just another cup of coffee. Their look went into exactly how they wanted their brand to be perceived, the best of the best. They also separated themselves from the crowd by employing fancy European names for their sizes such as “Tall, Grande and Venti” instead of “small, medium, or large”. How trend-setting! Their unique spin on things attracted more customers, and as a result, made them more successful. It’s the part of their brand strategy that sets them apart from the crowd, the part that makes them a billion-dollar brand. 

Hear vs Listen

Thirdly, Billion-dollar brands don’t just hear what’s being said, they listen. There are two ways you feel when leaving a conversation. Satisfied, or dis-satisfied. Let’s review two scenarios. The first one: you leave a discussion with a friend who never asks or cares about your day, and only prefers to talk about their own. The second: You leave a discussion with a friend who’s always empathetic, and although they tell you about their day, they’re always attentive and listening to how you have been and how they can help. Which situation are you most likely to leave feeling satisfied? Probably the second.

That would be because people prefer to talk about themselves rather than listen to others, and Billion-dollar Brands recognize this. Billion-dollar brands must always be attentive to their customers, and let them do most of the talking. One way they do this through what is called social media listening. Social media listening  is a great way to actively engage with your customers, and listen to the things they have to say about you. A great example of this would be the brand Dominos. Check out this example

Image Source: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/10-metrics-to-track-analyzing-social-media-marketing/

In the graphic above, you notice an unamused Dominos customer venting out on social media that her delivery guy not only messed up her order, but he questioned her authority as well. Dominos, being a great listener, picked up on Darcie’s complaint. Instead of lashing out or ignoring her, Dominos chose to have her PM them so that they could resolve the problem. As a result, Darcie probably left the conversation pretty satisfied, knowing that Dominos was there, listening attentively to her day. Incorporating social media listening into your branding strategy can make or break you. Billion-dollar brands recognize this, and stay up to date with culture changes allowing them to connect with their customers.

What it Takes

There are a lot going into developing a billion-dollar brand. As you can see in all three of these examples, billion-dollar brands are always taking it well beyond the product or service, and they’re doing it consistently. Developing your brand strategy can seem daunting, but it’s important to always remember your target customer when you’re developing it. If you need help furthering your brand strategy to build your billion-dollar brand, you can get started by contacting us for a free initial consultation.

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