Branding is a term that gets thrown around a lot in marketing. If you ask one person what they believing ‘branding’ means, they may say their website. Someone else, may say a company’s slogan. In truth, a ‘brand’ encapsulates both those things and more.
Defining the precise elements of what a brand is, is difficult - (trust me, I just tried Googling it). The Cambridge dictionary describes it as ‘the activity of connecting a product with a particular name, symbol, etc. Or with particular features or ideas, in order to make people recognise and want to buy it.’ Which we think sums it up nicely.
A brand is pretty much everything that identifies your products or services as different from everyone else’s. This is everything from your customer service and internal marketing documentation to your social media and videos. It’s a lot, right?
It is anything people come into contact with that represents and is associated with your company. That’s why having a strong brand is so important and can have such a high impact on the decision making of your target audience.
We touched on this briefly above, but the reasons for having a strong brand for your business truly are endless. When you think about your favourite brand, why do you like them? Obviously, you like the product, but loyalty from a customer goes deeper than that. This is where the branding comes in.
A powerful brand connects with audiences though different types of emotions. Marc Gobe, who, created the concept of emotional marketing over 20 years ago, believes emotional branding plays to human’s natural desires. His philosophy centres around the connections people can take on an emotional level to brands. Therefore, he believes consumers associate with brands they feel reflect their identity and adhere to the emotions they desire. These can include desire for love, power, ego gratification or emotional security.
When marketers leverage these emotions to connect with their consumers, they can create loyal, long-lasting relationships. This not only results in a high number of sales, but ambassadors for your brand.
To really create a powerful brand, customers should be at the heart of the branding strategy. By digging deep and finding out the desires, challenges, and motivations of the customer, you can create something that fulfils these needs.
If you are not sure exactly sure what your ideal customer looks like, a good place to start is by creating a persona. If you have more than one type of customer, create more than one persona. Some tips for finding out your ideal customer is to send out a survey to your current customers. Typical questions could include asking about their challenges, their motivations, why they chose to buy your product/service and what they first think of when they think of your brand. The more thorough you can be with your research the better.
Another way to gather information about your customer is to look at your data. Google Analytics and social media platforms are a great place to start with this.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of your ideal customer, you can begin to create your brand in a way that appeals to them.
Having a clear ‘why’ will further help shape your brand. Why was your company set out? What are you aiming to achieve?
Are you aiming to make people’s lives easier? More entertaining? Is your core focus on helping the environment?
Reviewing your mission and vision statement will help define your purpose. Your mission statement should define what you do, whilst your vision statement is based on what you aim to achieve in the near future.
In the same way that people change and evolve, so will your brand. Learning what connects with your audience is an ongoing process. The best branding strategies come from a wealth of both market and consumer research, followed by a whole lot of creativity and consistency.
Understanding and analysing the impact of your branding and how it impacts your audience is vital to create loyal, long term ambassadors for your brand.
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