Creating a brand is great.
But clearly understanding why it will bring value to your business?
That’s when you can slap a giant “S” on your chest…
…because you’ll be unstoppable.
In fact, branding is the secret weapon of most companies.
Want to know why?
Let’s dive right in…
1) Branding helps people identify and recognize your products and organization
A brand is more than just a name, a logo design or a snazzy strapline – it is everything that encompasses your organisation and helps to set you apart from others. For example, branding can be achieved through:
- the visual identity of the brand (logo, website and colors, are just some examples).
- advertising and communications
- product and packaging design
- in-store experience
- sponsoring and partnerships
Think of a brand like a person, each individual has their own personality, way of dressing, communicating, their own values, friends, characteristics and story to tell. It is this that makes up who we are and it is also these characteristics which make a brand.
A great example of a brand that successfully managed to create a strong visual brand identity through its packaging design is Minute Maid. Back in 2009, they redesigned their packaging for their premium range of products to ensure that they are easy to identify on shelf.
They created a coherent and unified look that is easy to recognize accross the different product lines, countries and cultures.
2) It’s what makes your company different from the competition
People don’t tend to have relationships with products, they’re loyalty and commitment is to the brand. So looking at an example we used in article “What is branding”. If no branding were applied to the product of bottled water, your consumers would buy just water and any water, it didn’t matter which as they all look the same.
But with branding you make your product different, it is the reason your consumer walks into the supermarket and purchases your water above your competitors. And it’s not because it tastes different, it’s because they can relate to and are loyal to your brand. The promises you have made to them and the secret salesman packaging have resonated with this consumer and they have chosen you.
3) Branding helps you connect with customers emotionally
Building a brand helps you to create trust with your target market, it helps to create brand loyalty, so these customers continue to keep coming back. We’ve touched on branding encompassing a number of elements and your values is one of them. It is these values which are embedded into your brand which then help to create the emotional connection with people and how your brand makes them feel.
For example, you buy Nike because it will make you feel trendy and capable of doing anything. Nike represents specific values and communicated them to its audience in an effective way – a lot of our buying power is based on our emotional reactions.
4) It helps your consumers know what to expect by making your products easy-to-choose
Brands provide consumers with reasons to choose their products or services. A company that communicates a clear brand promise and actually constantly delivers this promise over time, will probably build a solid number loyal customers.
This is why strong brands are often perceived as “shortcuts” in consumers’ purchase decision process. A consistent and clear offering together with a positive brand experience puts the customer at ease, because they know exactly what to expect each time they engage with the brand.
For example, when it comes to comfortable winter shoes, the first brand that will probably come to your mind is UGG. This brand is specialized in offering “ugly” yet comfortable and warm winter shoes – and their constumers love them for that!
5) Branding is the best strategy to attract top quality talent
Employer branding is used to attract quality talent to your company and help retain your top existing employees. It helps your audience understand the “why I should work for you” in a way that showcases your organization as a great place to work.
A great example of a brand that is good at attracting and retaining employees is Google. They make all their employee perks (nap pods, free meals, international careers) known over the web. Also, Google Career’s tagline alone, “Do cool things that matter,” could convince anyone to work for them.
6) It helps you build trust with many different stakeholders
Branding strategies are not only created to increase the number of customers of an organization or to attract top quality talent. Branding helps companies shape their company’s reputation and attract a variety of stakeholders: customers and employees, but also investors, business partners, providers, governments, opinion leaders, purchasers and licensees, etc.
For example, providers like to work with companies that are known for their professionalism, investors will invest in companies that have a good reputation – and so on.
You can read Coca-Cola’s stakeholder engagement strategy and see how they interact with every different type of stakeholder to improve their brand’s reputation.
7) It allows you to be clear with your organization’s strategy and stay focused
To build a successful brand everyone needs to be on board. From the CEO to the shop floor worker, everyone needs to believe in the same vision and the same purpose. It is this drive that will also drive your business to success. If you have employees who really understand and believe in what they doing and why they’re doing it, their drive will come through to your customers. This is why it is important to have a clear brand strategy and provide every people working for your company with structured and detailed brand guidelines, that will reflect the brand’s purpose, values, strategy and communication codes.
According to Deluxe “Having a strong brand is like turning the company logo into a flag the rest of the company can rally around”.
Want to see an example of an organization that has a clear vision for its brand? Check out WWF’s brand guidelines.
8) Building your brand helps you grow your business
Branding is more than just a fancy marketing term. Branding for companies has grown in importance over the years and for some it is now even included on the balance sheet.
Why? Because to have a valuable brand helps to develop a profitable business. Yes it will be adapted and modified over the years but a strong brand that is able to adapt will survive any test of time and guarantee future business. Look at Coca Cola, Apple and McDonald’s to understand the value of a brand. As well as allowing you to keep your loyal customer base, your brand strategy should also allow you to target and attract new customers. And therefore increase sales!
Furthermore, companies now look to buy or invest in other companies not for the raw materials or employees but for the value of the brand attached to it. “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business”, Steve Forbes, American Publishing Executive.
Branding is more than a design on a product, a logo or strapline. It is about all of these things and more, customer experience, brand promises, company philosophy and culture. It is all of the characteristics of what makes you, you. Going back to the human example, every individual is different, unique and has something different to offer. It is this difference that sets us apart, how this is portrayed and marketed is what makes companies leaders in their industry.
A branding strategy which is part of your overall business strategy – is certainly a strategy for growth and success.