Ever wonder why Apple manages to get its customers so psyched for their latest launch all the time? Ever question why people would pay a significantly higher price for a bottle of Evian water as compared to other bottled water?
The reason why these phenomena occur lies in the branding of those companies. These companies have branded themselves well enough and are in the eyes of the consumers, products that are valuable.
Simply put, branding amplifies your products and services value.
Today, you will learn what is branding and how it can you establish a branding strategy to help with your business’s growth.
What is Branding?
In order to fully grasp what branding is, you must know that your brand doesn’t come to life overnight from your marketing team. Branding is what your company is in your customer’s minds. This perception is shaped as a result of all the interactions and impressions that your customers have with your company and its products.
Is your company the unorthodox, innovative company that goes against the grain? Is the product or service you’re selling the value for money option or is it the premium one that only an exclusive group of people are willing to afford? You must be able to decide on all these things in order to effectively position your company and create a brand that suits your desired market positioning.
Branding is also omnichannel. This means that every channel or mean that you have to reach out to your customers matter as it is a sum of all the impressions your customers have of you. Your customers will expect the same type of service, tone, and experience in every available touchpoint you have with them. Therefore, it is also important to show consistency and align with their expectations on all the different channels your company exists on.
The goal of branding is to ultimately build a strong, differentiated and positive perception for your company in order to effectively stand out from your competition and build a firm, loyal customer base.
What Should You Achieve From Branding?
Before embarking on crafting a branding strategy for your business, you must know what you want to achieve out of branding, much like every other marketing plan or strategy.
The main objective of establishing a brand is to differentiate yourselves and get your target audience to view your company as a trustworthy influencer in your industry. That is the big picture of what branding is supposed to do for your company.
While that is the theme that branding is built upon, your brand be able to also meet the following objectives:
- Have a crystal-clear brand message delivered
This helps your consumers know in a short sentence or phrase what your brand stands for and what it seeks to do.
- Connect and resonate with audience sentiments
Your brand must be able to have ideas and messages in the minds of consumers that resonate with what they need and expect from brands in your industry.
A good example would be Adidas’s message of “Impossible is Nothing” which clearly sits well with their target audience’s aspirational thoughts when partaking in sporting activities.
- Establish Your Credentials
Branding has to help you establish the trust between you and your potential customers. It has to help your business reaffirm its reliability as well as trustworthiness in the eyes of the market. This will then allow you to stand out as a front-runner in your industry. It is exactly why people prefer a can of Coca Cola over a generic can of cola. People understand the quality and trust that Coca Cola always delivers on its products as opposed to a brandless cola.
- Inspire and Motivate Your Target Audience
An effective branding strategy will allow your business to inspire the target audience to take action and buy the products or services that you’re selling.
How Do I Establish My Brand?
After knowing what needs to be achieved from your branding campaign, the next question will be what are the steps that you can take to create this presence.
Of course there’s no one size fit all solution for every business as different businesses would require certain needs. However, there is a guideline that could be easily followed to determine how to shape your branding strategy.
1. Design a Meaningful Logo
While it is essential to have an eye-catching logo that draws all the attention, it is also just as important to incorporate elements of what your brand means to people into the logo.
Look at IKEA’s logo for example. Without being told, you could probably tell which country (Sweden) the company originates from due to its logo’s design scheme. The simplicity of the logo also paints a picture of the company’s minimalistic designs and goal of giving its consumers reliable, fuss-free products. Thus you can clearly see why it is important to be create meaning behind your logo design for effective branding.
2. Know Your Customers Fully
For effective communication you have to understand your customers inside out. You need to know what are the things that motivate your customers to buy your products. Having an understanding of what their pain points are and what they seek from your brand is crucial in helping you set their expectations and create your brand’s promise to the customers.
3. Clearly Define Your Brand Promise
In your messages, the brand promise must be succinctly and distinctly delivered to the customers. They need to know what is it exactly that they can expect from your brand. Take for example – Starbucks. Starbucks’ level of personalization in their service, allowing customers to customize drinks however they like and addressing each customers by their name is a way of morphing their brand image. This aligns with Starbucks’ brand vision of “treating people like family” so that they “will be loyal and give their all”.
The experience they deliver to customers is definitely consistent with what they promise (apart from the quality coffee of course!).
Your brand’s promise must be stated not only to customers, but also to every individual stakeholder and employees. Everyone in the organization has to be aware of what the company wants to portray so that they can behave in a certain manner that helps to project the brand image.
If you feel that your brand messages and advertising style may be too subtle for customers to catch, be explicit about it. State it loud and clear in your messages if you have to.
4. Consistency in Delivering on Every Touchpoint
As mentioned earlier, in branding literally EVERY touchpoint matters. As such it is important to integrate your what you seek out of your branding campaign into every facet of your business. Be it your retail staff’s service delivery, your e-mail marketing messages, your company’s policies to even the way you handle the backend of your business. They ALL matter.
The way that people will perceive your brand is an amalgamation of all these experiences they will have with your brand. To effectively carry out your branding strategy you must ensure that there is alignment across all departments and channels. Any inconsistency will only bring about cognitive dissonance in the way customers feel towards your brand, making them lose confidence.
By being consistent throughout all channels will leave your customers with a lasting impression, shaping the idea that your business is reliable.
5. Be Memorable
At the very core of your branding efforts is your company’s need to be known and remembered by your target audience. Which is why there is a need for your company to be memorable.
From having a catchy tagline, to creating buzzworthy campaigns, there are many ways that you could have your company’s brand image be imprinted in the minds of your consumers. Catchy taglines and jingle could go a long way in establishing your brand.
When people say “Just Do It”, you would immediately associate with a certain sports brand. Or when people tell you that they’re “Lovin It”, you would right away think of a particular fast food chain. Catchy taglines that reflect your brand’s identity and message go a long way in capturing new audience and reminding people of your brand’s existence.
6. Create a Brand Persona
Treat your brand like a person. Give it a persona. List down the characteristics that you want your brand to have and show that in your messages.
To develop a persona for your brand you have to think of it as a living person. What ideals and values do you want your brand to carry? How do you want people to think of your brand? These questions will help guide you in creating the kind of personality that you want to impart onto your brand.
Use frameworks like Jennifer Aaker’s widely used brand personality framework to help determine what kind of a personality you want to give your brand. As a result of the personality you wish for your brand to have, the tone in which you communicate with your customers and through your advertising will be altered to reflect that personality.
Branding is quintessential in helping businesses grow. That is a sentiment that is reflected by over 80% of marketers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as we know how through branding, companies can create a perception in the consumers’ mind that make their business’s offerings seem way more valuable than it should be. Branding is a long-term investment that will reap benefits in the form of name recognition and increased customer loyalty. It is one of the most powerful tool in your business’s arsenal to help your business sustain competitive advantage over competitors.
Today, we have covered what you should achieve from an effective branding campaign as well as the means to achieve it. We understand that this may be quite overwhelming to do on your own and to digest. If there is one thing that you MUST not forget after reading today’s article it is that CONSISTENCY IS KING in branding.
If you need help with understanding branding and how can you better position your brand, you can reach our Gurus at MarketingGuru who will give you a FREE consultation on your online branding strategy. We will take the time to go through with you what we can do to help your business with your branding and give you a tailor-made proposal that can help you with strategizing your online branding strategy.
We do customized proposals because it aligns with our brand’s promise of delivering beyond expectations
We will go above and beyond to customize your proposal and help you find the best-fit strategies to help improve your branding.
We hope you enjoyed and learned a thing or two about branding from this article!