In this ever-changing competitive world, branding is the best way to help your customers identify with your company, products and services, and increase your overall sales. At the same time, you need to not only protect, but also extend the uniqueness of your services and products.
People, as emotional, intuitive beings, base their buying decisions on trust and unique value. Trust is gained from the relationship developed with companies, and the relationship is facilitated by the story your brand tells about the value of your products and services.
To put it plainly: the value and story create brand loyalty.
Therefore, you must understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition; it’s about getting your prospects to see your brand as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.
A state of mind
A strong brand is a state of mind that taps into an emotion of your customers — and those emotions fuel consumerism. Creating that feeling in the mind of the customer when they see your brand marks a huge win for your brand. Starbucks is an example of how people associate their brand with a warm, inviting atmosphere and sense of community that offers a quality product, regardless of price.
Apple is another example, because when most people see or hear this word, they equate it with a higher standard of technology that is safe, reliable and cutting-edge. An “apple” represents knowledge, and the “bite mark” is the temptation of knowledge.
To succeed in branding, you must understand your customers’ and prospects’ wants and needs. You achieve this by integrating a brand and marketing strategy through your company at every touch point with the public. So every interaction you have with your customers, every pitch you’ve given to a venture capitalist and every one of the 140 characters you’ve sent out on Twitter must work together to develop your brand.
These interactions collectively form the basis of your relationship with your audience — and all relationships are facilitated, maintained and articulated by none other than your brand.
A strong brand must:
- Deliver a clear marketing message
- Confirm your credibility
- Emotionally connect with your target prospects
- Elicit thoughts and physiological responses
- Motivate the buyer
- Achieve concrete user loyalty
Branding is indeed an intricate and involved concept, but keep in mind that your brand is the single most valuable asset you can cultivate in your business. The first step is to understand why brand matters.
So, what is branding?
The best place to start is to understand what a brand isn’t.
Your brand isn’t:
- Your logo
- Just your product
- A visual identity system
- Your responsive, retina-ready website
- Your color palette
- What you say it is
Your brand is:
- What “they” say it is, and “they” are the people who interact with
- The products and services your company offers and the stories they collectively tell
In other words, your brand is a gut feeling that’s rooted deep within people (your customers or prospects). It’s a feeling because people are emotional, instinctive beings. It’s a personal feeling because individuals define brands one by one, human by human. And when enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, we have a brand. People have too many choices and too little time.
If you are one of the very, very few entrepreneurs who have come up with something so unique and different that there is literally no basis for comparison, kudos to you. For the rest of us, we will face the challenge of over-saturated choices sooner rather than later.
Why branding M=matters
Relationships are the most beneficial advantage a company can have, and branding is the conduit to building those relationships. Establishing authentic relationships with your audience matters because, void of relationship, you merely have a neat gizmo, idea or gadget and not a business. Your brand facilitates your relationship that, in turn, facilitates your business.
Brand = Relationship (Trust) = Value
The real cost of not branding
The value of your brand goes beyond unifying your business’s identity; it’s an opportunity to differentiate from your competitors. Without a strong brand, there is no differentiation within your market and ultimately no long-term profitability. People have loyal relationships with brands, not products. Failure to invest in a strong brand is a failed opportunity to invest in your business.
Brand matters — it’s as simple as that
Branding helps people understand what your product or service does and why they should care. It helps them understand who you are and why you matter. Without branding, you’re building and iterating without factoring in how people will experience and understand you in the real world.
Interested in learning how Groove can help build, revamp and refresh your brand? Drop us a line today!