If you are not one of those vagabonds with a resolve to completely live off the land, then it is probable that the first thing you use in morning is some sort of a branded product; throughout the day, you continuously use products from different brands; and finally go to sleep in branded linens that are a symbol for comfort and luxury.
We live in a world packed with brands. And the brands we use on daily basis define our lifestyle.
But the overwhelming numbers of brands around us have made them so commonplace that we as consumers hardly ever think about all the maths & science involved behind the making of these brands that impact our purchase decisions and even become our lifestyle statements.
For marketers, trying hands on brand building for the first time, it is important to be aware of these effects of branding on consumers in order to come up with better & more impactful ideas.
Without further ado, let’s move ahead to understand what branding is, why it is important for businesses & how it should be carried out.
The textbook definition says – “Branding is a marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies a product or business and differentiates it from others.”Pretty concise & accurate! But to truly comprehend the concept of branding, we would need more than just that.
A brand is the reflection of the ideology behind a business – what it is, and how it wants to be perceived among its target audience. It is a business’s promise to its customers. And the messages you put across while carrying out that promise – through logo, website, content, ads, promotions,etc. – is branding.
From above discussion, it is quite clear that branding creates a unique identity for your business, as well as helps improve recognition in the market. Apart from that, branding brings following long term benefits for your business:
It generates referrals
As mentioned earlier, a brand can become people’s lifestyle statement. And once a business is at that stage of branding, referrals comes as easy as it gets – because people love to tell & show others about the brands they use. And in effect, other people simply begin to desire to have that brand’s product.
Image: People love telling about/showing the brands they use
It dictates trends
Branding helps you in turning customers loyal towards your business. When a huge mass of populace is religiously following your brand, it automatically earns you the power to set product consumption trends. For instance, Apple’s minimalism (and its popularity among consumers) has made other smartphone makers to make (and consumers to use and desire) simple & sleek smartphones.
It brings clarity (in workforce’s line of action)
Suppose there are 2 brands – A & B. A is known for high-quality, expensive products & B for low quality, but affordable products. With a clear brand image in mind, it is likely that all of workforce’s efforts will stay aligned in one direction. So, if an employee in B is putting too much time in improving the quality of the product, everyone will know that his efforts are misaligned, since no customer would buy a high-quality expensive product from brand B.
It earns loyalty
Products come & go; CEOs come & go, but brand stays and the customers loyal to it. Over the years, Apple Inc. has created such loyalty among customers by always being clear about its brand value and then constantly delivering it. And as a result, people aren’t just loyal for Apple brand, but are also obsessed with it.
So far we have only covered the theory concerning branding, which is essential to get your fundamentals clear. But this knowledge will be helpful, only when you can interpret them into their practical implications. In this section, we will cover some branding hacks* (unique branding tactics) that will help you leverage your knowhow of branding in the best possible manner.
* Note that here we will cover only what to do, not how to do; therefore, will not cover basic tips like defining/understanding your brand, creating design/logo, choosing right colors, or the importance of being consistent with your branding.
Historically, celebrity endorsement has been one of the most used & more effective methods of branding. However, with constantly growing awareness among customers about the marketing world, it is essential for brands today to be mindful when using this branding tactic.
The trick is simple – partner with a celebrity whose personality goes along perfectly with what your brand offers. For instance, for a sportswear brand it is better to get endorsement from a sports person, rather than an actress or famous business person.
Image: Personality of your brand ambassador should go along with your brand’s values
Sponsoring events is a great branding tactic. Besides spreading awareness & increasing product sales, this branding technique also works effectively in giving your business an edge over competitors, and even to change perception about your brand.
That said, events that you consider worth sponsoring in your industry will not be easy to come by. You will have to compete for them and might even have to spend a good amount. However, whatever the price you pay, be mindful of the ROI on your sponsorship deal.
The whole is the greater than the sum of its parts. – Aristotle
Co-branding (aka brand partnership)– marrying two brands to deliver an enhanced product & experience has traditionally been an effective mean of branding. Sony Ericsson, Mercedes Benz, Hero Honda – are all the products of this branding tactic.
Co-branding is best when you are planning to enter a new vertical or geographic market. The benefits include leveraging partner’s credibility, extended reach, marketing cost split between partners & so on. However, it is also necessary to ensure that your co-branding partnership is win-win for both parties.
How can you make something look bigger?
By putting a smaller thing beside it.
Ingredient branding somewhat works on the above concept. Basically, it involves showcasing a component of your company or a product as a separate brand (eg. Android by Google).This way, having sub-brands, the parent brand looks even bigger on the outside. Besides, ingredient branding also works greatly for the success of the product.
Here at FATbit, we too benefit from ingredient branding for our leading products, such as Yo!Kart – a multivendor ecommerce platform. In our experience, ever since we have started regarding Yo!Kart as a separate brand, we have been able to garner much better leads for it.
A brand is a force that continues to push forth your business even when the people behind creating it are long gone. It is the bond that connects your business & its target audience at a personal level. It can be a lifestyle statement; it can be a trend by itself.
And it is only by apprehending brand in this manner can a business be capable of capitalizing on its power.
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