BRANDING 101- what is a brand?
This is one of the most important but misunderstood questions in the world of business marketing. A brand is not just one thing; it’s a compiled set of values making that brand stand out among competition.
- A brand is not a company’s logo. A brand is a valuable idea compiled of everything the company provides to consumers: the experience, the products, the services, the reliability and consistency. Although that looks like a pretty simple statement, it is the most powerful definition a company can hold to their name.
- A successful brand stands out among its competition from a consumer standpoint. A successful brand has higher value to a consumer than its competition.
- How a brand is perceived in the eye of the consumer affects how successful the company is. Through touch points, such as advertising, sales, networking and production, a company is able to get their brand out into the public eye.
Think about it this way, farmers began branding their cattle with their own mark to distinguish them from other farmers’ cattle- the competition. So when someone saw a cow with a certain mark, they knew which farm it belonged to and an emotional awareness was built. A brand is a way for a company to emotionally connect with consumers. It is what you, as a consumer, value and feel about that company.
Brands have three primary functions:
- Navigation: A distinguished brand helps consumers come to a decision when faced with several choices. For example, when making the decision between where buy a new bathing suit would you pick Wal-Mart or Target? Which one holds higher value to you?
- Reassurance: Brands need to be able to reassure consumers that they have made the right choice. They communicate quality and value to the consumer market, providing comfort in the decision making process.
- Engagement: Specific icons, symbols and language help consumers identify and differentiate brands among competition.
These are important to remember when beginning the branding process for your company or for re-branding a current company. If you are a small business looking to brand yourself, take your time! It is a long process that needs to be done correctly in order for your brand to grow and compete in the market.
This is a brief introduction to what a brand is and throughout the next couple of months I will be going through several stages of the branding process including: brand identity, brand strategy, target markets and positioning and rebranding among others.
Next up, the Brand Identity.
CREDITS: Designing Brand Identity. Wheeler, Alina. Wiley, 2009.