To develop a brand, a business needs to focus on a few key areas like their external communications, advertising, customer servicing, promotion and reputation management et al. in hopes of establishing themselves as the go-to company for that particular product or service. All of these elements combined help you build a visual brand which creates recognition in the minds of your audience.
Building a brand isn’t easy and it takes years or even decades to build a strong and recognisable 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.
Brand and Branding
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.
BusinessDictionary defines 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”.
Thus, Branding, by definition is a common marketing tactic used by businesses so that their symbols, logos, any other design elements are easily recognised by their customers. This helps a company distinguish themselves from their competition and help their audience in associating their offering to their unique brand.
Elements of a Brand
A Brand has various different elements which 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.
- Colours and Visuals
- Tone and Personality
- Visual Imagery
- Unique Shapes or patterns
- User experience
- Social Media Aesthetics
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 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 recognise. Thus Branding helps with advertising and strategy.
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 the minds of any new or potential customers 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 among the market.
5. Branding Improves Equity
If you wish to increase the intellectual and intangible assets of the business then branding is extremely important. Branding improves recognition which increases the leverage you have in the industry. This will improve your value if you wish to eventually sell your business.
Brand marketing is an approach to communications, sales, product, and service that grows the asset of brand equity, according to Brand Marketing Blog (See here).
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 to an identifiable and recognisable visual identity.
Let’s do a small exercise, think of the first brand that comes to your mind when you read
If you said coke for cola, Apple or Samsung for smartphone, 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.
Why is Brand Marketing Important?
Brand marketing helps a business build trust with the help of familiarity. It gives them the assurance 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 who are growth focused and highly profitable know exactly what their ideal customers look like, what are their motivations and what drives them to take the decisions they do. So narrow down your ideal target if you wish to develop a recognisable brand.
Some key factors to take into account to find your ideal target audience is –
- Brand Affinity
- Goals and Motivations
- Pain Points
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 and if your positioning doesn’t clearly tell your customer what to expect from you in terms of pricing then 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 the nature of your business, 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 on those 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 plan 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 are able to influence emotions of your audience then 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 colours, the signage, the logo (Obviously) everything should be integrated in a cohesive manner. 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 on a constant basis 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 question or confusions feel free to drop us a comment and we shall try to help you out with it.