Your Business is Your Brand

The case for ‘brand’ to a metric-obsessed executive

“In their relentless pursuit of measurable ROI, today’s data-driven marketers are inadvertently killing the very essence of what makes premium brands valuable.

By fixating on short-term metrics like click-through rates, conversion percentages, and cost per acquisition, they’re sacrificing the intangible magic that elevates a brand from commodity to luxury.

Brands aren’t built on algorithms or A/B tests.

They’re forged in the fires of audacious creativity, cultural resonance, and an unyielding commitment to a singular vision. The marketers who slavishly chase every fleeting consumer whim, optimizing for immediate gratification, fail to grasp that desire itself is manufactured through scarcity, mystique, and aspiration.

Consider the iconic luxury houses of Europe. They didn’t ascend to their lofty perches by obsessing over website heat maps or social media engagement rates.

Instead, they cultivated an aura of exclusivity, craftsmanship, and timeless allure that transcends rational cost-benefit analysis. Brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton have mastered the art of maintaining desirability through controlled distribution and limited advertising.

The tragedy of modern marketing is its inability to value what can’t be immediately quantified.

Brand equity, emotional connection, and cultural cachet are dismissed as ‘soft’ metrics, yet they’re the very foundations upon which price premiums are built.

By reducing everything to data points, we lose sight of the human element that drives true desire.

As Daniel Kahneman and Rory Sutherland remind us, emotions and perceptions often drive decision-making more than pure logic.

Paradoxically, the path to creating a premium brand often involves deliberately ignoring certain segments of the market, limiting availability, and maintaining an air of aloofness.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom that seeks to maximize reach and accessibility at all costs. Supreme, for instance, has perfected the strategy of scarcity and strategic collaborations to maintain its premium status.

Not everything measurable is useful, and not everything helpful is measurable.

In their quest for efficiency, today’s marketers risk homogenizing the brand landscape, creating a sea of interchangeable, algorithm-pleasing entities devoid of true character or distinction. The result? A race to the bottom where price becomes the only differentiator.

The most successful brands of the future will be those brave enough to eschew the tyranny of metrics, embracing instead the art of brand building in its purest form.

They’ll understand that true luxury is not about meeting demand but creating it through the power of imagination, storytelling, and uncompromising vision. Leaders like Simon Sinek emphasize the importance of maintaining a consistent brand purpose and long-term vision.

To achieve this, brands should focus on cultivating cultural resonance, tapping into cultural moments and movements to enhance their appeal. Nike, for example, has successfully aligned its brand with powerful social issues through compelling campaigns.

Marketers should also measure success through alternative metrics such as brand equity, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and long-term customer loyalty. Investing in craftsmanship, superior customer service, and unique experiences will further reinforce a premium positioning.

The key to building a premium brand lies in valuing the intangible, prioritizing long-term vision over short-term gains, and daring to be different.

By focusing on creativity, cultural resonance, and emotional connection, marketers can create brands that not only stand the test of time but also capture the hearts and minds of consumers.”

By Paul Syng

Paul Syng is a multi-disciplinary designer based in Toronto. He focuses on a problem-seeking, systems thinking approach that can take any form or function.