Branding. What a fancy word it sounds like. But what is Branding and what significance does it have in the marketing of your business?
Branding is the entire customer experience with your brand. Starting from the visual elements like colors, logo, UI/UX design, social media presence, to how you represent your brand and communicate with your customer, your tone and everything in between, all of these are a part of branding. It is how your customers perceive you. A good brand doesn’t just happen, it requires research, long time planning and well-thought-out strategies.
Selling a product is not very difficult. But creating a brand, an experience people will remember, that is the real challenge. This process involves different steps like positioning your company or product in the market, devising brand strategies to reach your goals, developing an appropriate name which will be your verbal identity, designing a visual identity, setting an appropriate tone for brand messaging, and even setting brand standards to decide how to keep your brand consistent and strong. Your goal is not to just sell your product. You want to give your customer a memory they’ll cherish and a reason to keep coming back to you.
But how does branding help you become an unstoppable force in marketing? Let’s take a look.
It gives your brand an identity and recognition: A logo and a name gives your brand an identity, a face. This is how the world will know you, recognize you. Just as renowned brands have made their mark with their logos: McDonald’s with their golden arches or Apple with their bitten apple logo, we all recognize these brands through it. The logo and name will not only give an identity but also allow the brand to evoke certain kinds of emotions or communicate a specific message the brand wants to convey. A strong example is the energy drink Monster Energy, giving off a very intense powerful vibe with their high impact name and logo.
It builds value for your company: In marketing, a sound branding strategy will add value to your brand, creating both internal and external opportunities. As branding builds a vision and a goal for your company, it motivates all your internal stakeholders in striving to achieve those goals. Solid branding strategies help to communicate the goals, the aspirations and the beliefs of your company, providing transparency for the customers and making them aware of your presence in the market. A strong brand also creates future opportunities. An investor will look at your brand proposition before they decide to invest in your company. A company with greater devotion towards building brand value has higher chances of financial return from its efforts. Not only that, different branding campaigns and activities like CSR also help to add value to your marketing strategy.
It helps to differentiate you from others: In this competitive market, you need to stand out to mark your presence. Branding is the key to differentiating yourself amongst the crowd of thousands of similar companies around the world. It helps you express your competitive advantage. For example, while every organization focuses more on advertising their products, Apple focuses on broadcasting their organizational culture. They have established their values of hard-work and dedication towards innovation and how they do not compromise on the quality of their work. From Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s own words, “We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.”
Cadbury dairy milk is one of the most popular chocolate companies. When they launched their new product line “Dairy Milk Silk” the branding strategy was to portray it as a testament to the sweetness in relationships. Through establishing the product as more premium, smoother and silkier than before they have successfully stood out from the crowd. With the use of catchy jingle and light-humour videos, they caught everyone’s attention.
In Bangladesh, with their product Frutika, Akij Food & Beverages has successfully distinguished the brand from the rest by portraying the purity of the product.
It creates trust: Your brand is like a person and branding defines its appearance, personality, and its values. Through clear communication in branding, your customers get to know you. And the more they know you, the better relationship you build with them. People are more likely to purchase from a brand that they can relate to and rely on. Brand consistency has a psychological effect on customers. The use of the same colors in the logo and the same kind of tone of voice creates a sense of familiarity.
Facebook has been consistent in their brand identity with their signature tone of blue and white in their logo. That is why, when we see that combination of colors, we are most likely to think of that specific brand.
When it comes to Amazon, their customers trust them to cater to all their needs. Their branding strategy involves showcasing millions of products, as well as 24/7 access, superior browse and search technology, user reviews and in-depth information about available products. And that is why Amazon is one of the biggest platforms of buying and selling globally.
Besides, everyone prefers associating themselves with a well-reputed business. And that is why, branding is also essential to build a sound reputation for your company.
It sets expectations and helps your company grow: Through consistent branding in marketing, you set expectations for your customers. It represents your promise towards your customer and everything you want to provide for them. It provides a benchmark and after you reach your benchmark, it helps you grow even further. A brand can only stay alive as long as it keeps evolving. Being static in one place eventually makes your name disappear as soon as competition comes in. New strategies and techniques need to be implemented to grow and attract new customers as well as keep the old ones. Think about how Nokia started off as one of the most reputed mobile phone companies but due to lack of farsightedness, they lost their market. They could not adapt their brand and products to the changing demands of customers and when competition started coming in with better offerings, they fell behind. Now they are rebranding themselves to re-enter the market with innovative ideas.
Branding helps customers to connect: Branding makes the customers feel like they are a part of something bigger. This relationship helps to build a bridge so that they feel attached to the brand even after availing their products or services. Taking the example of Ferrari for instance. There is a certain sense of exclusivity and elegance in being in the “Ferrari owners club”. Everyone wants to be a part of that club. It is a lifelong relationship every customer cherishes. And this happened because of the way Ferrari was successful in branding themselves as one of the most luxurious sports-car brands.
Branding generates referrals: Everyone likes to talk about something that they love. Sharing good experiences is common among friends and family. That is why, in marketing, branding is extremely important. How can someone talk about your brand if they don’t even remember it? Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of publicity, that is why you would want to make your brand as memorable as possible.
One thing is common among all successful brands, whether big or small, through efficient branding they have been able to secure their position in the hearts of their customers. Like the unique features that differentiate every human being, each brand has distinct characteristics and something that sets it apart. Only a foolproof branding strategy will help you succeed, thrive and establish an identity for your brand.
For more information on creating a successful brand, check out our step-by-step guide to branding!
Also published on Medium.