Why do global companies spend millions of pounds on branding and re-branding?
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or business to business (B2B). But what exactly does “branding” mean?
Before I begin I want to apologise in advance for any marketing bull**** that may slip into this post. I have been around branding and marketing for so many years that there may still be the odd word I haven’t managed to exorcise from my subconscious.
I will do my best not to use jargon like ‘touch-point’ or ‘experience footprint’.
In plain English, a brand is the all-encompassing experience a person has with your company or organisation – nothing more, nothing less.
Branding is one of those overused and often misunderstood words.
5 common branding myths:
- A logo is a brand – (It is not)
- A name is a brand – (It is not)
- Products are a brand – (It is not)
- A visual identity is a brand – (It is not)
- A website is a brand – (It is not)
These are all individual expressions of a brand.
In the eyes of the customer a brand is an experience – good, bad or indifferent.
The brand experience is much more than a product on a shelf; it is an asset that has to be managed. You have to manage that user experience with great care and sensitivity.
Branding starts with the truth about your company or organisation, how it behaves, how it communicates, how it delivers, how it operates.
Remember: A brand is not what you say it is, it is what others– your customers. say it is.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
Global companies are willing to pay millions to differentiate themselves from their competitors through branding or rebranding.
Successful branding is about the experience; it is engaging, intuitive, pleasing and memorable. If the user enjoys the experience they will return. They will purchase that product or use that service again and they will tell their friends and their colleagues about it.
Without those experiences all you have at your disposal is price.
What branding does:
- Reinforce a good reputation
- Encourage loyalty
- Assure quality
- Convey a perception of greater worth, allowing a product to be priced above competitors selling the same commodity product.
“If your business is not a brand, it is a commodity”
What can be branded?
In short – anything: products, services, organisations, places and people. You name it and it can be branded. Ask any cowboy!
- Branding usually involves five common components (taken from ‘What is branding” by Matthew Healey):
- Positioning – this means defining in the customer what a brand stands for and how it compares to competing brands.
- Storytelling – when we buy brands we buy their story – good or bad.
- Design – the design is the liquid as well as the label, the self as well as the surface.
- Price – is a vital, though less obvious aspect of a brand. If to cheeses in a supermarket look and smell the same, most customers will take the more expensive one. It is a fact!
- Customer relationship – we all know this one from experience as customers.
The beauty of great branding lies in its ability to identify the truth, tell its story, make it look good, and build it into a valuable, emotional bond between producer and customer.
If you understand how your brand works, how it generates value for your business, how it helps you sell and your customers buy, you will create passion in your employees and loyalty in your customers.
Get that right and you grow revenue, increase market share, re-inspire your employees and re-engage with your customers.
The big question is, how to you make your brand stand out from the rest?
And where on earth do you start?