There is a lot of confusion around branding, there are multiple definitions, so what is branding? Decades ago branding was defined as a name, slogan, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of these elements that identify products or services of a company. The brand was identified of the elements that differentiated the goods and or service from the competition.
Today brand is a bit more complex, but even more important in today’s world of marketing.
It’s the perception that a consumer has when they hear or think of your company name, service or product. That being said the word “brand” or “branding” is a moving target and evolves with the behavior of consumers, I think of it as the mental picture of who you as a company represents to consumers, it’s influenced by the elements, words, and creativity that surround it.
What Should a Brand Do?
Branding is not only about getting your target market to select you over the competition but about getting your prospects to see you as the sole provider of a solution to their problem or need.
The objectives that a good brand will achieve include:
- Clearly, delivers the message
- Confirms your credibility
- Emotionally connects your target prospects with your product and or service.
- Motivates the buyer to buy
- Creates User Loyalty
Branding and Understanding Your Customer
To succeed in branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects.
It is achieved by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact. Think of branding as the expression of who you are as a company or organization and what you offer. Sound difficult? Think of it like this if a brand could speak it would say:
- I am ________________.
- I exist because ________________.
- If you relate to who I am and why I exist you might like me, you can buy me, and you can tell others about me.
As consumers begin to identify with you, your brand will live in the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.
The Importance of Branding
A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer.
Your brand is a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without. Branding is strategic and marketing is tactical and what you use to get your brand in front of consumers. That’s why it carries a great deal of importance within a business or organization as well.
Brand serves as a guide to understanding the purpose of business objectives. It enables you to align a marketing plan with those objectives and fulfill the overarching strategy.
The effectiveness of brand doesn’t just happen before the purchase, but it’s also about the life of the brand of the experience it gives a consumer.
Did the product or service perform as expected? Was the quality as good as promised or better? How was the service experience? If you can get positive answers to these questions, you’ve created a loyal customer.
Brand not only creates loyal customers, but it creates loyal employees. Brand gives them something to believe in, something to stand behind. It helps them understand the purpose of the organization or the business.
A Basic Checklist to Evaluate Your Brand
Branding can be confusing, so how do you know if your brand is strong enough to give you the internal and external value that you need in your marketing?
- Does your brand relate to your target audience? Will they instantly “get it” without too much thought?
- Does your brand share the uniqueness of what you offer and why it’s important?
- Does it reflect the brand promise that you are making to who you are targeting as well as to your internal audience?
- Does your brand reflect the values that you want to represent as a customer?
Let these questions serve as a guideline in the development of your brand. If the answers are not clear you may want to return to the drawing board and refine the branding process. A brand should be an instant “ah-ha” it should require very little thought and contemplation.