Brand Value vs. Brand Recognition

Interesting article in Fast Company Magazine, basically an interview with John Wang, HTC chief marketing officer — AKA Chief Innovation Wizard.

The HTC brand was already there among its users. A few years ago we started to put the HTC logo on the phones. We basically formalized the brand recognition on the physical product.

Let me share with you how we think about brand. There is a very important difference between brand value and brand recognition. Brand value means something to the end user. Brand recognition, all it means is a bunch of advertising to make people recognize the brand name. At HTC we care about brand value, not brand recognition. Building brand value is like earning respect; you have to earn respect, you cannot buy respect.

The brand value vs. brand recognition point is generally true. But in certain markets (either geo or in terms of products) you might not have the time, the patience and the resources to wait for the recognition to come from the market in an “organic” way. Without a push on the recongnition pedal, you might not have the chance to put the brand value in customers hands. Definitely what a brand is looking for mainly is value. Value for the customer, for the brand itself or for the company that owns it. But I don’t think you should leave aside, by all means, the recognition effort.

4 thoughts on “Brand Value vs. Brand Recognition

  1. Nice that you brought this point up.

    It’s interesting to see how John Wang speaks about the differences of brand value and brand recognition.

    I agree with him when he says that you have to “earn respect, and you can’t buy respect”. Many companies spend thousands of dollars on pretty brands but they haven’t actually developed the brand value yet.

    On the other hand I understand what you are saying in the sense that sometimes depending on the product or service you do need to first invest in brand recognition in order to even give yourself a chance to build value.

  2. Sam

    I starting with the fact in mind that you already have a valuable product/service.

    What I’m just saying is that sometimes, just having a good product/service and waiting for the market to “value” it, might not be enough or might take way too long. If you can afford the time and money to wait for the growth in value, is probably a valuable growth.

    You need sometime (and that’s depending on the product and market) to raise the market’s attention on you, to speed things up a little bit, not necessarily to start with this thing.

    And, overall, I think that without a valuable product/service, you cannot build a valuable brand, no matter how much you invest in brand recognition.

  3. This is not an either/or situation – it is a case of brand semiotics. Brand values are about what the the brand actually ‘is’ and ‘does’. In semiotic terms – the ‘signified’: the brand communications assets that are part of the recognition experience make up the ‘signifier’ – icons that stand for the brand values.
    So, of course, brand stewards must look after their brand values these are the fundamentals. But at the same time most brands are busy communicationg the offer of these values to their audiences – here is where recognition is important. But the importance of brand recognition can often be overstated. A brand with sound values but poor recognition will still prosper, albeit slowly, but a brand with poor values and high recognition is heading for a crash.

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