Branding is a powerful and sustainable high-level marketing strategy used to create or influence a brand. It is used to generate a perception of, and thus a response in relation to, a product or company…or individual.
The power of perception (a brand) can positively influence buying decision/s by:
- creating an affinity or emotional connection with the consumer
- providing justification for paying a premium price for a service or product
- creating loyalty to the product or organization
- demonstrating the quality and benefits of a service or product and the company behind it.
Acquiring more loyal customers (who are happy to pay a premium price) is what many
[Branding] is a practice…that has always existed above and beyond all other business strategies. It is an organizing principle so broad yet so defining that it can shape and direct just about everything a company does, and, most important, how it does it.” Scott Bedbury, A New Brand World
How can your business benefit from this thing called branding?
High quality strategic branding creates competitive advantage by:
- creating a positive perception in the minds of target customers (and staff)
- positioning and differentiating you in relation to your competitors
- relating to and positively influencing customer buying decisions
- developing, managing, and building the value of your brand
- making it difficult for competitors to match your professionalism or positioning
- positioning companies as employers of choice.
Branding can also deliver real internal benefits. It can play an important role in improving organisational culture and unity by:
- clarifying brand values and brand personality
- clarifying who you are and what you represent
- giving staff an identity they can understand and be proud to be a part of.
And this, most importantly, fosters consistent projection of the intended brand externally.
“Brands are things marketing organizations [that’s your business] use to try and make more money. Brands are investments for sure. But they need to pay some returns to the owners. Creating nifty, complex, complicated advertising concepts generally doesn’t make any money for anyone other than the babbler.” Don and Heidi Schultz, Brand Babble
Why do some think it’s a waste of time?
Sadly, many businesses take a reactionary approach to operating and building their business. Consequently, they never achieve the level of success that is attainable within their market. Many businesses are unaware of the benefits of strategic branding or the business lacks the time or skills to formulate well-engineered long-term plans and strategies. As branding falls into the longer-term category, it is often disregarded as too hard, too costly or even too boring!
Many business owners have no real understanding of branding and the impact it can have on the health of a business over time as well as immediately. They are often unaware of (or refuse to acknowledge) how “that airy-fairy branding stuff” impacts on themselves and others. Consequently they conclude that it’s of little or no value to their business.
But branding has been proven to be one of the most effective marketing strategies available to business, and it’s the smart businesses that make the investment in branding and put it to very good use.