Brands today popup and they go. This is because the attention span of the average consumer is far less than it has ever been. It is also because there is so much clutter in the media and digital space, that it is difficult to stand out easily. Big, traditional brands, that we have encountered and used for decades have closed down for various reasons. We are all familiar with Pan Am, Nokia, Enron, all of which have closed down for various reasons. We now know tons of brands in the digital age as well, some of which have grown tremendously in the past few years, like Facebook, WordPress, Google, and more. Exactly what is branding, why do we need them, especially in today’s digital age, how do products and services become a great brand?
What Is A Brand Anyway?
A brand is an idea or a persona that customers or your target audiences associate with a product or service. The Brand Name, Logo or Slogan become stimulants for the identification of a brand created by any company or business. Sometimes, brands are associated with simply the logo or the slogan that a company may build around a product or service.
But branding is much more than that. It is a differentiating factor between your products versus your competitor. It is also the entire persona that you build around your product or service. The image is a combination of symbols, references, and terms for customers to identify your product or service against others. Smaller elements like customer servicing scripts, colors used, and the kind of graphics you create to depict your brand, all add up to the persona of your product or service.
Why Would You Need Branding?
Branding your product and service is key to building trust and comfort in your audience to purchase from you rather than a competitor or an alternative. Branding gives you uniqueness and can build recognition amongst your audiences. With a stronger brand, you can add a premium to your pricing too. Think big brands that you pay a premium for like Apple, or Rolls Royce. Consider it this way. Your brand can add great value to your company, over and above the physical assets and trademarks. For example, Coca-Cola’s brand value in 2014 was worth USD 67 million, which was more than 50% of the share’s value at that time!
For small businesses, a great brand can help with recognition and recall of your services and products. More so, it adds value to your business because of the trust factor that continues to build alongside a great brand. Great branding can add to referrals to your business too as customers talk about your brand in positive terms with others. Therefore, a strong brand can help you with adding significant value to your business.
Key Ways to Build a Great Brand:
To build a great brand think like the end customer. Identify the needs of your specific target audience that your brand will satisfy. The specific kind of thought, emotion, drive, and feeling that you want in your audience, is what your brand should stand out for and be about.
Here are some key ways of building a great brand in today’s competitive global marketplace:
- Define your Brand: Come up with at least 3-5 keywords that define your product instantly. Define the various thoughts and moods that your brand will stand out for. These thoughts and moods are represented by some of these elements. These elements invoke certain thoughts and emotions in the mind of the target audience:
- Logo and its design concept
- Colors that represent the feeling and emotions that you want to invoke in your audience
- Values, references, and terms that your brand represents
- Graphic elements and font styles that represent your brand
- Position your Brand: The specific target audience should be able to relate to your brand and should be able to engage with it. To position your brand, some key guidelines include:
- Is your target audience able to relate to you and your brand?
- Do they need to think about your brand to recall it?
- Do they need to spend time and thought to be able to understand it?
- Does your brand depict the uniqueness that you are offering in your products and services?
- Is your brand able to reflect the values that you have planned out for your products and services to depict?
- Be Consistent with your Brand: Once your brand name is in place, and you’ve decided on your positioning strategy, you should use it everywhere consistently. All print and digital communication should reflect consistent communication of your brand. Inconsistent branding often results in low recognition, low demand, and confusion in the audience. If you are launching your online platforms, it is best to match your brand name with the web address you are opting for.
Branding your product is a one-time investment that pays dividends in the long run. It sets the tone right and reaches out to customers, one at a time.