You may have heard something about marketing "branding," but maybe you don't truly understand what that that means exactly.
Some people think branding is like positioning, but it is actually different. The main difference is that positioning is a fluid concept. In other words, you can position yourself at different times in different markets as different things. Branding is more set in stone- it's a hard-core recognition factor.
Branding is more about following rules because if you don't follow those rules, things don't look the same and people won't remember you. When you put out your marketing pieces, you want to create a similar look and feel so that people remember you. And you want that similar look and feel on every piece you put out.
The good thing is that you get to make the rules...colors are the same, style of lettering is the same, logo, etc. However, there is some flexibility as long as you follow the rules. You can't go too far out of bounds, but you can change some things within the framework of what others can still recognize.
Branding in your marketing has to make you feel something. A technology company can't have an old-style font - you might not think that they are very advanced.
A brand consists of eight basic building blocks:
- The name
- The logo (brand icon)
- The brand's colors
- The slogan and brand messaging
- The sound of the brand
- The overall look and feel = the brand's position
- Packaging the brand
- The brand experience
A brand is a greater sum of its parts. It is always more than just the nuts and bolts, the pieces; great brands are always the result of the whole equaling more than the sum of its parts.
Branding is about making the consumer or buyer more hip, more in the "know," more cool than anybody else. We are a generation and a nation wanting to be special. We want to be richer, more beautiful, better dressed, and more effortlessly gorgeous than any other generation that we know.
Benefits of Branding
Your business needs to create a positive image in the minds of consumers. Contrary to what most people believe, branding isn't just a logo. Your business's purpose, focus, and image all combine to create your brand. Why should you make this effort? Below are a few benefits:
You are remembered: It's hard to remember a company with a generic name. You may not be able to distinguish their purpose and business focus. And why would you call a company if you couldn't tell what they did? Branding your business ensures that consumers will know what you're about.
You gain customer loyalty: The fact is, people build close bonds with brand identities. Consumers want quality products that they can trust. So, your business should have an identity that your customers can cling to. If your company delivers great products and services and has a great brand identity, people will remember you. Additionally, they will often refer you to friends and family.
You become well-known: You want the people who have not done business with you to still know who you are and what you do. If they see your ads on billboards, hear them on the radio, see them on television, or any other media, they will know your brand identity. And when the time comes that they need your product or service, your company will be the first to come to mind.
Consumers pay for image: We are a very brand-aware society. People commonly associate brand names with quality and may only buy certain brands for that reason. If people only want one brand of a particular product, they are willing to pay a higher price. Having a great brand will make your company have a superior image and cause consumers to forget about the competition.
When you have distinguished your business through branding, the marketing has the capability of becoming so profound that little else is necessary. Developing your brand takes time and effort, but after it has been solidified, and after customers have had the chance to identify with it, your sales can increase naturally. You won't have to spend as much time planning marketing strategies to attract the public.
Branding, as a whole, is essential for any serious business because a company's brand is what distinguishes it from its competitors. In today's computer age, it is necessary for most businesses to have an online presence to stay competitive. Effective Internet branding, just like its offline counterpart, helps bring awareness to your unique business offering and drive customer demand.
While Internet branding offers huge opportunities for business, in order for it to be effective, one needs to attract and engage its customers. This isn't easy on the Internet. Branding is not as easy as putting up a website and adding your company logo and slogan. Your Internet branding strategy should make your online brand noticeable and apparent.
Branding utilizes hi-tech tools to create an online presence for your business. Graphics and animation, compelling web copy, and overall website design that reflect your company are some of the important elements that will bring your online brand alive. An attractive website that helps customers easily and quickly find the information they need is the key to getting customer interaction and eventually, business. Your branding plan should include good design elements and ease of use to create an effective overall impression.
A strong online image will make the difference between a customer who buys from you online or switches to your competitors. Remember that online customers can just leave your website and go to your competitors with the click of a mouse. A lot depends on the impression they get from your website. Branding seeks to convey an immediate unique message about your business to your target clients.
Promoting Your Brand
If you haven't already initiated a brand for your company, now might be just the time. Use these simple techniques in the promotion of your special brand.
Make your brand as unique as possible: Catch the eye of the public by creating something different - something that people have not yet seen. Instead of doing what has already been done, go the opposite direction and be creative. Don't forget the legal dangers of copyright infringement related to borrowing or stealing from another firm's design.
Display stability: Take time in the development process to establish your brand and accomplish the look you really want. It's better to spend sufficient time in the beginning fine-tuning your design for the desired outcome rather than to play with it after it's been revealed to the public. Changing your brand, and all that's involved with it, including colors, slogans, logos, and tag lines, doesn't support an image of reliability and longevity.
Stability should be maintained with branding: If you have integrated a brand into your company's marketing, use it all over the place. It should appear on all of your marketing materials, business cards, website, and printed items. The same is true for your packaging. Your brand should appear on all of your products.
Give your brand away to the public with diverse promotional products: You can help your brand to saturate the consumer population by handing out precious, yet low-cost, items. Promotional products encourage possible customers to keep in mind your brand and your gift every time they are used.
Branding is just like the old coat of arms that families used to have connected with their name. It instills respect, fear, and wealth. Likewise, a country's flag gets people to feel a certain way about their country.
Think about what message you want to convey. What do you want recipients of your promotion to think about you? What image of your company do you want to put out there? That is your brand. When people see you continually as one thing, they begin to expect the same from you and they get used to you.
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