What is Branding?
We interact with brand every day. They shape our lifestyle, purchasing decisions and even our emotions. It’s no surprise that branding is one of the most important aspects of marketing. The brand is how we influence our buyer’s. It’s how we stand out; how we shape the industry; craft loyalty; and even shift perceptions. Branding is the most powerful component in marketing, we often put it’s creation and management much lower on the priority list.
What do we mean by branding?
Some people are tribute branding to a logo, to others is an identity, and to some of them, it’s a product. But let’s free our mind and re-establish what branding really means. We see a brand as an emotional experience. It’s the perception about product, service or company and personality. Branding is about embedding what makes you unique in the mind of others. When a loyal customer recalls your brand, it’s tied to a feeling in their mind. Think about it on this way; everything we smell, see, touch, hear and do becomes associated with the memory in our mind. Branding is about making sure that when a customer sees your logo, walks into your store, or receives an advertisement, that this connection in their brain aligns with what makes you unique. It’s genuinely important that it aligns with associations that create a sense of who you are, what you are selling, and why they want it. Put a little differently, a brand is really just a feeling. And the goal of branding is to dictate exactly what that feeling should be, and to create in the mind of your ideal customer the believe that there is no other product on the market quite like yours. In branding, we work to decide what this feeling and perception need’s to be, and make sure that we don’t do something to interrupt or change that perception. By at the same time building a powerful brand you’ll have crafted a powerful marketing platform and a good brand makes the sale process a lot of easier.
The actual purpose of the brand?
Branding has its origin and differentiation. During the mid- XVIII century mass production and the transportation of goods were in big expansion. So many producers placed their initials on their merchandise, This allowed buyers to make repeat purchases and over time these brands became recognizable symbols of quality. Without a brand, your product is served alongside the rest with no distinguished. It’s essential commodity. It’s not just the mark on the box, it’s what that mark stands for. It’s everything that you’ve done to convince your buyer to select your crate over the next. When consumer are faced with similar choices, brands provide the missing information. The brand is attached to the product or service, and the perception has been formed in the mind of the consumer. This perception may be formed instantly, or it may have been forged after many brand interactions, but perception is all about using questions to recognize concepts, and branding is really just communicating these concepts. A brand is really a way to trigger psychological response. Brands are tied to emotions, beliefs, and attitudes. And when a consumer sees the brand, they are connected to an experience. This experience puts them to choose one over the other. A brand will create a set of buyers for itself. And these buyers will have a certain degree of preference. The stronger the brand, the higher a consumer preference. One of the brands most important purposes is to reduce consumers switching behavior. The consumer preference for a brand dictate market share, and market share tends to demonstrate strength, and strength contributes to increasing profitability.
Perceptions of the brand.
The brand is a question to trigger a person’s perceptions and branding shapes all of these perceptions. But these perceptions, essentially the messaging of what makes the brand different and valuable, come courtesy of the business itself. Main components to make the brand are; history, practically your origin story. What makes it special? Second is competency; what is the core strength? This will be the top item from the strength section of your sweat analysis. The mission; why does your company exist, where are you headed, what are your goals and what are you contributing? Market orientation; what are the stated “wants and needs “ of your customers? Scale; what is the size of your company? Are you a leader, challenger or follower? Where is your growth taking you? Who is in charge of the marketing? For organizations, this is about mapping out decision makers, who have the biggest direct or even indirect impact on the brand. Reputation; what is the current image of the company amongst existing or former customers. What is your reputation and what reputation do you really hoped to have? Once you finished defining your brand, highlight the areas that contribute the most to the wants and needs of your customers.
At the top, you have all of these easy to understand physical touch points, a business card, the signage out front, the color of your packaging etc. We can build each of these pieces independently and look at them and say this is on brand and represents who we are. Look at step further, think about social interpretation of these pieces. Think about the order in which people encounter the brands. The system exists and its complex, and that’s ok. We need to be aware and sensitive to the fact that this exist. It’s a way to truly reinforce the need to have your branding exist end to end. Every touch point is a reflection and a contributor to brand experience. We can’t control the manner in which people explore the brands, but awe can be diligent about reviewing the touch points from the perspective of our target market. To do this, think of your system existing as three pieces; the physical, the mental, and the socio-cultural. The physical is your product, buildings, vehicles, marketing communication, and so on. The mental is the representation of what a customer experience and who the brand contributes to that experience with all the physical pieces. The socio-cultural is any force that shifts a person’s perception; trends, opinions, demographics, communication methods, and attitudes. Commit this to memory, and reflect on this over time as your look at yours existing physical touch points or as you create new ones.Your brand is a system and not bunch of individual elements.
The brand strategy
The brand strategy defines who you are, where are your thoughts and ideas, how are you getting there, and why.To document your strategy; it can be a visual presentation, multi-page write-up, or a playbook. Encourage you to work through all the aspects of branding. Use the strategy serves as a guide. One of the options to determine how you’ll approach your marketing and define your expectations. The strategy is to define what your brand is. Where do you want your brand to be? What do you want the consumer perception to be? How can your brand get there? How will your brand match the consumer perception? What will attract customers to your brand? What trends will impact the industry? How will you measure growth?
First of all, we need to understand our competition, and where we fit into the market. When a consumer is a face to a choice, they mentally review the reference material that’s associated with that decision. We understand and remember information by linking to things we already know. When you understand the frame of reference a consumer has with your product or service, you can determine what messaging is important to influence that decision. This clarifies your messaging and dictates your competition. With your competitions identified, you will leverage your points parity. These are any associations that aren’t unique to your brand but shared among all brands in the space.Once you have the history documented, the next step is to outline every touchpoint. What is the customer interact with?Everything from communication materials to how the phone is answered. Anything your customer can experience alongside the brand should be listed out: telephone, electronic communication, internal communication, signage, packaging, social media… Do your best to aggregate as much as possible, then review and re-view your existing touch points and make decisions as to what needs to be updated.
How to position your Brand
Once a brand establishes trust, it was challenging for a competitor to move into that space. People rarely shifted their brand loyalty, and it was much harder for a new brand to attract attention. But we are in a whole different market now. Today’s digital consumer can evaluate a brand end to end with a quick google search. New brands appear daily and claim to pick up where other brands have left off. Each of this product is positioned is such a way that gains attraction from and resonates with a particular audience. Brands don’t have to resonates with everyone, just their primarily audience and needs of that audience. When we think of capturing that audience, it’s all about positioning.We are good at tuning things out that aren’t relevant and are really good at tuning out new brands unless is meaningfully and attractively different. And that is a whole point of finding and protecting a position for your brand. Positioning is about making these findings known in the mind of the consumer. It’s about getting your customer to believe your claims beyond words. so your goal is to use all of the available brand touch points to position yourself. Every piece that consumer can interact with must reflect how you are positioned. Turn everything you do into a reflection of your desired positioning. Your brand stands for something. Own that position in the mind of the consumer.