It creates a positive, powerful, and personalized perception for a brand in a way that the people quickly identify and preferably opt for that brand experience over other alternatives in the market. Branding strategy is used for attracting and retaining loyal customers and other stakeholders by aligning with the brand promises.
What is Branding?
Branding is a marketing procedure in which a company ardently shapes its brand by creating a name, design, or symbol, which helps identify it.
Branding builds a solid and positive impression of a company and its products and services. A robust branding grasps ideal customers’ attention. It also helps a particular company to distinguish themselves from their competitors and creates a loyal user base.
Branding converts a first-time buyer into a lifetime consumer. If a company wants to stand out and impact the customers, then Branding is a must-do thing. Excellent and balanced Branding takes a business and company to the next level.
Different elements through which effective branding can be achieved are-
- Brand definition: values, purpose, promise
- Brand positioning statement
- Brand identity: tone of voice, name, visual identity design (such as logo design, color palette, typographies…)
- Brand strategy and brand awareness
- Advertising and communications: TV, magazines, radio, outdoor ads, mobile apps, website,…
- Product and packaging design
- Sponsoring and partnerships
- In-store experience
- Workspace experience and management style
- Customer service
- Pricing strategy, etc.
Meaning of Branding
The word brand derives its meaning from the ancient Germanic language, Old Norse word – “to burn,” or “brand”. It refers to the procedure of branding livestock by burning permanently the skin, dating back more than 4,000 years to the Indus Valley civilization. The marks denoted the ownership of the owner.
Branding has an old history. Around 2700 BC, images of branding cattle occurred in Egypt. Potters and farmers adapted the Branding and used it on their goods like pottery and ceramics. Seals acting as quasi-brands have also been found on the Chinese products of the Qin Dynasty (Around 221 BCE).
Who does Branding Affect?
A brand strategy is designed to affect
Consumers: Brand strategy is a key part of your brand that gives consumers a few decision-making-shortcut that influence them to opt for your brand when they are feeling indecisive about the same product from different players in the market. So, branding helps consumers in distinguishing similar products.
Employees/Shareholders/Third parties: Powerful branding strategies add to the reputation of a company and they can affect a range of people from users to employees, shareholders, investors, distributors, and providers.
Evolution of Contemporary Branding Practices
During the Industrial Revolution, many household products were produced by factories. The owners started branding their products with corporate trademarks.
After the Industrial Revolution, a considerable amount of goods needed to be sold in a bigger market. During this time, the generic products had a tough time competing with local products. so manufacturers decided to use personal identifiers to distinguish from another one.
In the 1950′ era, TV advertising like “Madmen” ushered the branding vision of the companies, which turned into household names. While over time, the meaning of Branding changed a lot. Modern Branding is quite different from that of an old one, mainly the goals.
The Branding of this 21st Century is more than a logo. It signifies an emotional feeling of a customer, which the respective company can derive as a user’s reaction. Brands set the consumers’ perception about the company, but Branding is a pack of actions to create and cultivate the brand.
The brand stands for noun, whereas banding is a verb. Designing a logo, developing a brand’s voice, and advertising the brand points towards Branding. Any activity and action to construct a brand is Branding.
Why is Branding Important?
Looking at the broader side of what is branding, it is essential to think about why branding is essential and what is involved in it. Through Branding, a customer perceives and connects with a company and its product or service.
1. Sets apart from the competition
Any company, industry, type of customer – needs tough competition in this century of the global market to be in the race. Branding helps in establishing the ways a company can stand unique, different, and special from others. It helps the customers to gain loyalty instead of other competitors. Several companies are springing in e-commerce platforms, so a company should establish a good brand that can be valuable to bring consumers and make a profit.
2. Constructs a Brand Recognition
The ability of a customer or a user to recognize one specific brand over other brands is Brand recognition. Through brand recognition, the consumers should identify the products or services by their name, qualities, impactful logo, other assets, and design elements. It should help the consumers with ease to recognize products or services.
3. A stable Brand Experience for Customers
Branding allows a company to build a relationship with customers via the products or services of a company. It controls how users perceive and experience a brand.
For a successful and profitable business, providing a consistent experience for the consumers is very important through websites, logos, social media accounts, and many more. One company should take care of the consistency of the products and customers too.
4. Bridges a connection with Consumers
Branding creates an emotional connection with users, provides expectations to customers, and transforms them into brand enthusiasts. Several branding strategies (designs, logos, etc.) can help a company connect with the audience on a deeper level. Creating a sense of loyalty to a brand is the essential part of Branding.
5. Good Brands generate referrals
A good brand always generates referrals to others. People like to say what kind of a brand they like and thus tell other people about the brand he/she is using.
Branding in E-commerce
Strong Branding is critical in the striving e-commerce era. The company should understand consumer’s needs. A brand persona must exist. Brand promises should be consistent. Visual assets (website design, pictures, typography, color palette, logo and advertising designs, packaging, along with unboxing experience) should be potent.
What are the Different Elements of Branding
There are different elements of Branding. A business needs to create different elements of Branding to be perceived by the customers and be different from other businesses.
1. Brand Values, Vision, and Mission Statement
Brand values, vision, and a mission statement are the substrates and foundation of solid Branding. A vision with a mission is essential for a business or a company. A quick and compelling brand mission can define the purpose of your company and products or service.
2. Cohesive Brand Guidelines
Brand guidelines are also known as the “Brand Bible”, comprise solid documents that give a mirror image of the goals set by a business. It distinguishes itself from other competitors, relates with customers, provides a template for decision-making ideas and marketing and advertising campaigns. Stylistic components of Branding include fonts, color palettes, brand voice, and mission statement.
The logo is a visual and graphic trademark that identifies a company’s brand. It is a face of a company. Designing a logo is the most essential part of a business. The logo may take the form of a symbolic or an abstract design. It may exhibit as a stylized version of the business or the company’s name. The design strategy should be the sole of how the customers can perceive it.
4. Creation of Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
In this modern era, every imaginable thing is already present in the market. So standing different from the competitors is challenging. Here comes the Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which sets a company apart from others. USP should be an advantage over the other products in the industry because it will make the consumers happy and benefit from the company’s product.
The more unique and distinctive USP is, the chances are more when customers will think about the company’s particular product and even tell their friends and family members to use it. It will increase market value in the industry.
Scheming and designing a website is an important and critical step of Branding. Website is a digital estate where the audience or customers visit online. The website should be colorful, pictorial, and engaging. The essential part of a website must be the reflection of the business. The design elements like fonts, layouts, keywords, and many more should be taken care of.
Make sure that the website is well maintained. In the case of online stores, customer interaction is critical and solving the complaints too. A strong feedback page can also be created where consumers can reach out, ask questions, and many more.
6. Additional Assets of Branding
Some additional assets like sounds, business cards, product packaging, or event brochures. Evaluating business and unique needs and then developing the additional assets are the most critical factors online and offline.
Here is a video by Marketing91 on What is Branding?
How to Use Branding for your Business?
While creating Branding, it is essential to keep in mind that “Branding” is a verb that means action. It may seem quite hectic at first to build a brand, but it’s the main component of what a company produces and gives to the customers. All the planning and execution is necessary for Branding in a business. A good brand always does good marketing. A perfect branding increases the value of a brand.
A strong, powerful, and established branding can only increase a business’s value by giving it more leverage in the industry. Branding makes a company and business more appealing. The investment opportunity can thrive well because of its strongly established place in the industry.
For any kind of business, growing a community is a very looked-forward thing. If a company is selling a product, opportunities should be grabbed to build online and offline communities. For example, online communities can be created on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, any social networking sites. It helps businesses to flourish.
As branding is important, it should be opted first by keeping customers in mind. Sticking with the vision and mission of the company through Branding can lead a growth.
A unique brand strategy can give you a competitive advantage over other competitors which will ultimately help you acquire and retain customers quite effectively.
With the careful construction of a brand via effective brand stories, marketing messages, relationships, and visual assets, you can shape up the expectations of your customers, and accordingly, you will be able to create a unique brand that functions beyond the relationship of buying-selling practices.
All in all, branding practices are strategic, while on the other hand marketing practices are tactical. You can define your branding strategies by understanding your customers, defining your brand persona, crystalizing your brand promise, perfecting your visual assets, refining customer experience, and remembering to give back.
Now, after understanding the whole concept how would you define what is branding?