Do you use gauze and adhesive tape or do you use Band-Aids?
The power of effective branding is visible most in brands that have become synonymous with entire lines of products.
While the power of branding may be visible in many areas of business activity including but not limited to advertising, customer service, merchandise, reputation, logo and more – the impact is much more (and longer lasting) than a mere sum of the parts. Truly effective branding has the power to transform not just the perception of the product, but actually impact the thinking and language that people use around it.
So much so that when in pain from an unexpected cut anywhere in the world, people automatically reach out, not for gauze, but for a Band-Aid.
What is Branding?
Branding can be broadly defined as a marketing practice in which a business or a company combines a name with stylized elements, such as, creates symbols, designs or a logo that when applied correctly, come together to create an indelible impression or recall value in the customer’s mind.
Next time the customer comes across that name and associated stylistic elements, they will be able to easily identify them as belonging to a distinct company/ business. This helps companies to carve out their own space in even highly crowded and competitive niches, and establish their line of products as distinct from other products and services.
Branding is important not just because of the recall value it creates, but also because it essentially informs and educates your consumers about what they can expect from your brand. Branding can be understood as a sort of conversation with consumers using long-established social and cultural cues to establish a distinct persona for your brand. So much so, that the customer always knows what to expect from your brand. Good branding manages to not just distinguish itself from competitors but also serves as a true representation for your business and provides a compelling argument for why your brand is simply better than all available alternatives.
What Should a Brand Do?
Having said that, however, branding is not only about standing out from the competition or getting customers to choose you. The reason why Band-Aid managed to literally take over an entire market segment is because it managed to convince users of its value as a convenient alternative to gauze and adhesive. They became the sole provider of a solution to a palpable consumer problem or need. At its core, branding is a way for problem solving.
Brand market research reveals more. Efficient branding often carries the following hallmarks:
- The brand clearly delivers a message
- The branding establishes the product’s credibility in the marketplace
- The branding creates a strong emotional connect with consumers
- The brand successfully motivates the buyer to try/ buy
- The brand inspires user loyalty
Branding and Understanding Your Customer
There is no magic formula for successful branding. Every brand is a distinct creature built on careful evaluation and profiling of customer wants and needs. It solves a core customer problem and does it better than available alternatives. If it’s truly successful in establishing both perceived and real value to users; consumers will begin to identify with your brand and it will become a part of their daily existence (hearts, minds and feelings). Great brands establish an emotional connect that users come to love and trust over the years.
An Initial Checklist to Evaluate Your Brand
We know great branding when we see it. But how do you know if your business is on the right track to create great branding? Here’s a basic checklist we often offer brands that work with us:
- Can my brand connect to my target audience?
- Does the brand really convey the uniqueness of my offering and how it solves a core consumer problem?
- Is the brand a true representation of my company values?
- Can it inspire trust and loyalty for both consumers and my internal audience?
If you are not entirely clear about the answers to any of these questions, it may be time to re-evaluate your brand statement and positioning.
Why Branding is Integral to Continued Business Value
Branding Gets Recognition – People like the familiar, especially in uncertain times. While your brand may be completely new and fresh, it will have familiar connotations nevertheless. Learn more about how this works at branding agency los angeles.
Help people get familiar with your brand through consistent branding and they will feel at ease purchasing your products or services. Your logo and other core brand design elements are extremely important in creating a memorable as well as highly efficient branding in conveying core product and business values. Logo should always be simple (to be memorable), but also effective enough to make the right impression with customers and powerful enough to be recalled.
Branding creates consistency and recall value – Branding is the unifying element among your name, logo, online presence, product and mass appeal. You should focus on building consistency first through marketing and content creation. Consistency equates to clearly defined imaging and values driven to customers, future partners and more.
Branding creates trust – In its essence branding can be boiled down to a customer experience. When they get consistent value and quality out of that experience, they will start to trust your brand and keep coming back for more. You need to build this trust through exceptional customer service, product/ service experience and overall content, positioning and communication of your brand across channels. An experienced brand strategy firm should be able to help you establish this.
Branding Increases Business Value – An effective brand has more lasting value than most of your physical assets. Can you think of a product simpler than sugary soda water and the physical infrastructure required producing it? But think of the brand value created by some of these companies. It is lucky that we didn’t leave a can on the moon so alien civilizations can know it as a marker of human civilization. The business value created by powerful branding goes beyond calculations.
This also helps companies at critical growth junctures like funding, or offering initial IPO, wherein perceived value often overtakes careful analysis of real value.
Your brand is your identity. The importance of branding lies in generating continuing business value over the years. If you wish to evaluate your current brand positioning, your local market research companies should be able to provide expert consultation.