Branding: Be the Subconscious of your Customer.
Become a memorable identity in the subconscious of the consumers min
Think about shopping routines in daily life: When you go for grocery shopping, what products do you buy and what clothes do you wear? What brand does your laptop belong to? There may be a lot of products you just buy because they are the cheapest ones or the easiest ones to get.
You don´t have any connection to these products, literally, you don´t care at all. They are just in your shopping cart because of a lucky, random accident. And probably you´ll never buy them again. On the other side, there might be some products you are really passionate about. For example, there is only a specific coffee you drink or a certain laptop you use and you would never replace it with a different provider.
What makes these specific products differ from all the others existing?
There is one simple answer: BRANDING. Companies knowing about the importance of branding and investing in their branding strategy are more successful than their competitors. The perfect example to show the relationship between branding and success of a company is Apple. Steve Jobs managed to make his products the most wanted in generation y. And the key to his success is his branding strategy.
If you think about Apple, its connection with its consumers has gone way beyond the emotional-it is connecting with their minds. Before a new product is even released, apple addicts are filled with a desire to obtain the newest product, lining up twelve hours before the opening in front of an apple store to be the first ones buying the latest I Phone. Apple consumers have learned that if they want the newest Apple product, they have to be present when the door opens, or they are forced to wait for weeks. Their minds are filled with Apple, leaving no space for thoughts about other competitive brands.
The Importance of Branding.
As shown in the example, branding is as vital to the success of a business as having a vision for the future, or having quality employees. It is the essential foundation for a profitable operation. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. That means customers that are willing to repeat purchases and making the company profitable in a long term perspective. It makes loyal customers, advocates, even addicts, out of those who buy.
What is Branding?
Branding is about creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ minds. Instead of activating buyers through marketing campaigns and “forcing” them to buy a product, branding is both preceding and underlying marketing activities. To become a memorable identity in the subconscious of the consumer’s mind, the company needs to establish a personal and emotional connection.
Therefore a brand needs to have an identity, a story to tell and above all, representing a lifestyle with certain values and beliefs customers can relate to. A brand should express the essential truth or value of an organization or the product. It helps the customers to define who they are. From this foundation establishes the emotional attachment to the customer.
The Branding Toolbox.
The brand elements tell a story about the quality, reliability, innovation and lifestyle of the brand and represent the brand identity. When creating elements like the name, logo or slogan of a brand, a lot of factors are influencing the quality of brand elements. Further elements are for example graphics, shapes, architecture, photography, colors and icon sets.
Establishing a consistent theme, through design templates and standards for your marketing materials, e.g. by using the same color scheme and logo placement, is essential to make the brand successful. The brand equity also depends on memorability, meaningfulness and likeability of the elements. To make sure your brand elements appear aesthetically to your customers and are adaptable and flexible as well, it is important to integrate experts in the developing process of your brand.
The logo is your medium creating the first visual impression, telling the customer “This is what I am, this is what I stand for. If you like me, buy me and be part of my lifestyle.”
When implementing a brand, it comes to brand guidelines. Guidelines help employees, ad agencies and business partners to gain a deeper understanding of the brand philosophy and make clear how your logo is protected and can be used. While consistency is one of the most important things to take care of while creating the brand elements, market research has to be done before starting the creative process. Without a strategic brand analysis, it is impossible to gain business insight or knowledge about your customers. And of course, it is necessary to know about the competitors’ brand strategy.