When brands are built up effectively over time and used purposefully, they can have a tremendous impact on the company and deliver considerable financial gain, supplementing the primary revenue generation from the sale of their actual products. Ford, one of the biggest and most recognizable name brands in the country and world, is a shining example of this. The Ford brand is worth billions and the company is a leader in the process of licensing out the various elements of the brand. Their activity provides lessons for other companies both large and small in how they can leverage the equity they have built in their brand for financial gain and valuable exposure.
Yes, Ford is enormous and many companies do not have the same name recognition (and everything that goes with it) or find themselves in such a position as Ford does. They built up to their current position over time, creating slogans such as "Built Ford Tough" and establishing the "tough, long-lasting, strong" identity that they have been promoting for years. With that said, other companies can strategically build their name in the same way to represent something, an idea, a feeling, an emotion - marketing, advertising, and branding 101.
According to a recent Forbes article, the company has 400 licenses at present and has granted roughly 18,000 product approvals during the past year, which is a sizeable increase from 3,000 from two years prior. 45 million pieces of merchandise that had the Ford brand were sold last year totaling $1.5 billion. This is a lot of money to say the least from an additional revenue stream.
What types of products does the brand show up in? Well the "Built Ford Tough" slogan was licensed to Forever 21, a young women's clothing store for one, another is ford-branded Tervis Tumblers for Bed, Bath, & Beyond. But the big winners are those that replicate the products, the cars themselves. This is exemplified in licensing the sounds and look of the vehicles for video-games, like the 2013 Ford Focus ST for the Forza 4 game. Similarly, they have been traditionally doing this with toy versions of the cars and trucks, most popular being the remote-controlled vehicles. This makes a connection to the actual products they sell. Jim Farley, Ford's global CMO, describes how interest from various "licensees" to use a company's brand is one of the best ways to understand and measure the value and health of the brand.
Takeaway - Building the Brand
The lesson here is the value in investing in building the brand - making it a priority. For smaller companies this starts with beginning with creating a core message and making sure in all communications, the company details the name, what they do, and the core message/slogan/why they are different. From there, local companies can solidify themselves as the place for a certain product or the place to support a local area business.
Companies can lean on reputable marketing agencies and SEO companies in order strategically build the message between social platforms and have it stick with customers, the hardest part. Social media is perfect for this and several platforms can be leveraged alongside each other to support the campaign. Reach out to us via our contact page for more information on how this can be done on both the small and large scale.