What is a Brand, Branding, Brand Marketing and How to Build a Brand?

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To develop a brand, a business needs to focus on a few key areas like external communications, advertising, customer servicing, promotion, and reputation management et al. in hopes of establishing itself as the go-to company for that particular product service. All of these elements combined help you build a visual brand that creates recognition in your audience’s minds.

Building a brand isn’t easy, and it takes years or even decades to build a strong and recognizable brand. Many companies fail to create a strong brand even after being in business for a long time because they don’t understand the concept of a brand in the first place, So let’s clarify that. We will also take a look at how you can build a strong brand for your business.

What is a Brand?

A brand is essentially a representation of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. A brand is your promise to the customer.

Brand, branding, and brand marketing

BusinessDictionary defines a brand as “Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind”.

What is Branding?

Thus, by definition, Branding is a common marketing tactic used by businesses so that their customers easily recognize their symbols, logos, any other design elements. This helps a company distinguish itself from their competition and help their audience associate their offering to their unique brand.

Elements of a Brand

A Brand has different elements that all come together in a harmonious way to create what we see as a brand. A handy image has been provided below, along with a few key factors.

  1. Logo
  2. Colors
  3. Patterns
  4. Imagery
  5. Shapes
  6. Icons
  7. Voice
  8. Tone
  9. Font
  10. Personas
  11. Talk tracks
Elements of Brand
Image source: Learning Hub

Importance of Branding

To succeed in this VUCA world, branding for any business is extremely important. Some of the main reasons why branding is important are –

1. Branding Generates New Customers

A brand with a lot of buzz around it naturally generates more interest in the minds of the customers, and this interest turns into intrigue once they start seeing communications from your brand. An intrigued customer is certain to buy from a business that has successfully captured the mind space of a consumer; thus, branding can help you generate new customers.

2. Branding Improves Employee Pride and Satisfaction

Humans have a certain set of values imbibed in them, which they learn from their internal and external environment. A person is happiest when they feel like they are a part of something bigger and are fulfilling a common purpose, and hence a brand with strong values will make your employees feel proud of the work they do and keep them satisfied. This will also help you in reducing the attrition rate.

3. Assists the Function of Advertising

Advertising is assisted very well by the portrayal of a brand. Using promotional tactics helps create a strong brand which the customers recognize. Thus Branding helps with advertising and strategy. In the digital era, digital advertising will help you more to reach more customers.

4. Generates Trust in the Market

A strong and well laid out brand helps the market to ease into new offerings from newer businesses. It helps generate trust in any new or potential customers’ minds, which puts them at ease when they purchase a product or service from a new or unknown business. A brand showcases industry expertise and facilitates trust in the market.

5. Branding Improves Equity

If you wish to increase the business’s intellectual and intangible assets, then branding is essential. Branding improves recognition, which increases the leverage you have in the industry. This will improve your value if you wish to sell your business eventually.

Branding is everything

What is Brand Marketing?

“Brand marketing is an approach to communications, sales, products, and services that grows the asset of brand equity,” according to Brandmarketingblog.com

A Brand is the first touchpoint, the first experience a customer has with your business, and if that isn’t the most pleasing, then the possibility of them moving down the funnel is fairly low. The goal of brand marketing is to associate your outstanding offering with an identifiable and recognizable visual identity.

Let’s do a small exercise, think of the first brand that comes to your mind when you read.

Cola –
Smartphone –
Motorbike –
Eyewear –

If you said coke for cola, Apple or Samsung for smartphones, Harley Davidson for motorbike, and Ray-Ban or Oakley for eyewear, then you are highly influenced by the brands these companies have developed for themselves. This is the power of brand marketing.

Brand why how what
Image source: Learning hub

The Importance of Brand Marketing

Brand marketing helps a business build trust with the help of familiarity. It assures them that they know what they will get when they purchase your offering. You know exactly what you will get when you walk into a coffee store chain like Starbucks or a fast-food chain like McDonald’s. The standards put in place help the customer be at ease and helps form long term relationships with the customers.

How to Build a Brand with Brand Marketing?

1. Sit Down and Define Your Brand

The first step to build a brand is to define what your ideal brand looks like. Is your brand young and hip? Or perhaps formal and sophisticated? Maybe it’s quirky and sarcastic? That is for you to decide. Research the motivations and driving forces for your customers, and then build your brand accordingly.

2. Figure Out Your Ideal Target Audience

If you target everybody, you are targeting nobody. The biggest sin brands and businesses make when developing a stable brand strategy is not knowing who your customer is. Firms that are growth-focused and highly profitable know exactly what their ideal customers look like, their motivations, and what drives them to make the decisions they do. So, narrow down your ideal target if you wish to develop a recognizable brand.

Some key factors to take into account to find your ideal target audience is –

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Brand Affinity
  • Influence
  • Goals and Motivations
  • Pain Points
  • Demographics

3. Position Your Brand

Positioning the brand is extremely important. You don’t want to waste time, energy, and effort on customers who can’t afford your offering. If your positioning doesn’t clearly tell your customer what to expect from you in pricing, you will attract the wrong customer to your business.

4. Design A Recognisable Logo, Tagline, and Other Collaterals

A logo is one of the standout elements of branding. Every business needs one. Your logo should represent your brand personality and values, some logos might also indicate your business’s nature, but they don’t have to.

You can get a digital artist to design a logo for your business, or you can use a logo maker tool like Tailor Brands. I have used them in the past. There are other ways to get cheaper collaterals like Fiverr, but the quality is usually low and unsatisfactory.

5. Lock-In What Is Driving Your Brand

What drives you? What drives your brand? What is the purpose of this venture? What is the problem you identified and planned to solve? Answer these questions to figure out your belief system and your emotional positioning. This will help you with the brand marketing effort.

6. Find New Ways to Deliver the Same Message Over and Over Again

Branding is all about consistency.  If you deliver different messages to your audience, then it will confuse your audience. However, if you keep repeating the same message over and over again, it will end up becoming boring. Thus, you need to figure out new ways to deliver the same message. It can be through a video, an image, a piece of content, or through any of the various new means. This will keep your message afresh and prevent it from becoming boring and stale.

7. Don’t Be A Copycat

Copycat marketing is dead. Be unique, be original, and be you. That’s the only way to succeed in the marketplace. If you try to mimic other well-established brands, you will send messages that don’t align with your vision, and it will hamper the development of your brand. Carve out your own space in the market and see how you grow at an accelerated pace.

8. Reward Your Customer

The customer is king, and they need to be treated in the same way. By rewards, I don’t mean a tangible gift (Although that’s not such a bad idea). By reward, I mean the experience they have. Provide them with the absolute best experience, and they will return again and again with more and more people. You reward them with a great experience, and they will reward you with new customers. It’s a two-way street.

9. Influence Emotions

Humans are social animals. Apart from logic, humans make decisions based on emotions. When was the last time you purchased something or did something because it felt right in your gut? That is your emotions telling you to do things. If, as a brand, you can influence your audience’s emotions, you will be able to take them through the journey a buyer goes through and help them through the five-step decision-making process.

10. Integrate Your Brand into Every Part of the Business

The old way of just stamping a logo on anything related to your business just doesn’t work. You need to integrate the brand into your business in every aspect. The colors, signage, and logo (Obviously) should be integrated cohesively. Your customers are not dumb, and you need not give away everything at first glance. Let them be intrigued and explore more about you. This way, you will ensure a couple of return visits from them.

11. Implement, Record, and Improve

Implement the strategy, record the result, and keep improving to build your brand into a robust one. Constant improvement will help you clearly see how far you have come and kept you motivated.

So, by now, you know what brand marketing is and how it helps you build a brand. If you have any more questions or confusion, please drop us a comment, and we shall try to help you out with it.

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A digital marketing scholar by choice and tech-savvy by habit. A NIFT Alumni who's consulting and nurturing many fastest growing businesses and blogs.

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