Brands provide recognition and perceptions about particular products or companies. For instance, we know where we can buy a Big Mac. We also expect that Big Mac to taste nearly identical to a previous Big Mac we’ve had at a different location. With brands, we want a certain quality and guarantee that meets our expectations based on previous experiences or advertisements. Therefore, brands play a big role in value for a product or company. Most people can immediately name well-known brands, such as McDonald’s, Apple, Toyota, and more. While becoming recognized is a big feat in the brand world, the work does not stop there. Brands must work diligently to maintain their value once they become popular. The following are four ways brands maintain value.

1. Provide consistency and/or improvements. Brands that remain consistent with their products or make improvements to their products provide a bigger guarantee to their consumers. Therefore, when products meet consumer expectations, the more likely consumers will return to that brand for future purchases. Consumers begin to trust them.

2. Advertise aggressively. Advertising plays a tremendous role in brand recognition. Constant exposure and aggressive advertising methods keep brands at the forefront of consumer minds. Therefore, when the time comes to buy a particular product, consumers are likely to search for those brands that they’ve heard about. This is why companies pay big bucks on their advertising efforts. For instance, the smartphone industry is extremely competitive. Thus, they spend tremendous amounts of money on creative advertisements. According to Kantar Media, the top seven smartphone companies spent $1.3 billion in advertising efforts in 2013.

3. Tailor to consumer tastes. While being consistent is an important brand trait, brands must be able to conform to changes in consumer tastes. For instance, many Americans who seek healthier eating habits may forego fast food chains. In order to retain or interest more health-conscious consumers, fast food chains have begun to add healthier alternatives to their menus while still keeping their signature menu items.

4. Respond well to adversity. At times, brands suffer from unfortunate experiences. Unfortunately, this happens often in the food industry. Those who survive are those who respond well to adversity. For instance, in 2011, Taco Bell had to defend its meat product after accusations that it was being less than truthful about the contents. Taco Bell responded by threatening to countersue. It also launched an ad campaign that mocked the lawsuit. In addition, the company defended itself by posting YouTube videos and listing its ingredients on its website. Despite all of these efforts, sales continued to decrease. In the meantime, Taco Bell redirected its focus and partnered with Frito-Lay to offer a Dorito-flavored taco, using the same meat product called into question. Within ten weeks, the company had sold more than 10 million Dorito-flavored tacos, which was the most sold product in its history. This more than made up for the lost sales that resulted in the accusation.

As you can see, brands must continue to work to maintain value. It’s not enough to become widely recognized. Changes, improvements, consistency, and quick thinking are just a few of the ways these brands maintain their value. It can be tough work!