Everybody has a favourite brand, don’t they? I mean as I teenager, for some unknown reason, I loved Adidas, Pepsi and Wrangler! Not quite sure why because my friends went for Nike, Coke and Levi’s – maybe I just liked to be different.
When you are young and impressionable you don’t tend to look at the reasoning behind such decisions. However, when your are older and wiser and especially when you are running a business, you need to understand why customers choose certain products over others and branding plays an important role in this.
What is a brand?
A brand is often described as a name, symbol, design, or other feature that makes a product or service distinct from others. But this is quite a simplistic definition because when you research a little further you discover it is much more encompassing. David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising,” defined brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Taking it further brand guru Marty Neumeier says it is “a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organisation.”
Perception is the key word here because a brand will mean something different to everyone at different times depending on factors such as experience or environment and whether they are an existing customer a prospect, an employee, or a competitor.
Why is branding important for my business?
Branding is the marketing process or strategies required to nurture, develop, promote, and market your brand to your chosen market. Branding is recognition for your business, which is vital for any new company trying to compete for customers in a competitive market. This is arguably the most important benefit of branding and your logo is the key factor here because it represents the face of your business, which if you are a start-up will be relatively unknown. Try trading as the new kid on the block without a brand against established competitors and you won’t last long.
You may feel that because you have only just launched your business that customers would prefer an established brand. That isn’t always the case because customers, especially of a younger age are often looking for exciting new brands to buy into.
Branding generates new customers and that’s what every business is after, right? Strong, effective branding means consumers will have a positive perception of that company and one they will be happy to be affiliated with.
Branding portrays a professional image which can put a company ahead of its rivals. It also creates trust in the marketplace and therefore removes the element of risk for your existing customers, prospective customers and suppliers. People want to work with and be associated with such companies.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but when there is fierce competition and your rivals try and copy your product it is your branding that makes it unique and sets you apart from the rest.
Branding can increase the value of a business because a company with a recognisable brand is a very appealing prospect for any investors due to the fact that being established will help generate business in the future. And once a brand is established, companies will find that word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising.
An often overlooked benefit of branding is the positive effect it can have on staff. To work for a reputable company that is held with high esteem instils pride in a workforce and is a great motivational factor.
Branding in essence is vital because of the impact it has for a business – it can change consumers perception, increase awareness and drive growth.
Brand loyalty is what every company strives for and I must confess after all these years I still prefer Pepsi to Coke and Adidas to Nike but maybe my Wrangler days are behind me, not because I have changed allegiances in the world of denim but just because I’d rather wear a comfy pair of slacks – preferably with an elasticated waist.
To find out more about the importance of branding for your business click here.