It’s nearly impossible to navigate the business world without occasionally touching the topic of brands and branding. Your first associations with these words would probably be giant corporations like Apple, Google, Coca Cola or Prada. It’s easy to conclude then that the process of branding is something reserved only for the largest companies because it demands engagement of huge economic resources. You would be partially right. While the word brand is commonly associated with giants we mentioned above, every company, no matter how big or small, even without actually developing a branding strategy, is a brand of its own, because brand stands for nothing more than a way your customers perceive you and your organization. So the real question is not whether or not you should start a brand. It is how to develop a successful brand and what are the benefits of it.
Successful brand is a promise delivered
Since the arrival of the first iPhone in 2007 Apple set as its goal to deliver highly optimized user experience and strong ecosystem to support its iOS. Wrapped in a premium package and charged with a premium price, iPhone managed to deliver promised value and establish Apple as one of the industry leaders which easily sells millions of products based on the brand recognition only. Even today, when its latest offering iPhone 6 is heavily criticized by competition as overpriced and underpowered, Apple remains on the top of the industry by delivering core values their products embody: uncompromising user experience, rich ecosystem and top-notch design, thus creating an army of loyal customers and even evangelists, immune to other companies marketing endeavors, out of those who buy their products.
Benefits of branding
This example illustrates that, while the simple marketing can provide sometimes excellent short-time results and can contribute to a brand, brand is essentially what remains in the public consciousness after the add campaigns are over creating long-lasting association with a certain product or service if delivering a promise of reliability it gave. Developing a brand for that reason may be a longer and more demanding process, than simply launching an ad campaign to raise awareness of your products and services, but it does provide you with more lasting benefits:
Branding enhances product recognition
While trying to meet the customer’s expectations, the harder the company works on its own visual identity, the more public awareness it creates. Recognizing a familiar logo on a billboard, new point of sale display or an entrance to a shop will immediately grab your attention and trigger positive associations.
Branding helps with product positioning
Well-developed brands make product positioning efforts more efficient. Upon exposure to a brand customers will associate that brand with certain benefits it provides, or even better it will associate benefits with brands. Benefit/brand association will give the associated brand significant edge over competition.
Branding helps in introducing new products
Companies that establish successful brands can easily extend their lineup of products or services under the same name more easily since the brand is already proven his worth in the market. Since we mentioned the cell-phones already, consider the magical effect word Galaxy conjures up when Samsung introduces phone in any price segment.
Branding gives an added value
Customers are generally willing to pay more for a product that is branded and that added value can be extended through the whole range of products or services, even newly introduced ones.
So, what conclusions can you make if you are trying to develop your own brand? First, it is necessary to reach thorough understanding of what are you selling, to whom do you want to sell, how your product or service solves customer’s problems and what qualities you want to be associated with your company. Whole organization should embody that value commitment and upon that foundation you must come up with a cohesive marketing message. You will also have to make sure that you have original logo and memorable and meaningful tagline that will sum up the essence of your brand. And to always fulfill your promises, whatever they may be. Since the every touch point between your company and your customers contributes to overall brand image, be certain that all of them are firmly managed and under your control, because if left unchecked your customers will manage your brand publicity instead.