Branding is important
By: Abby Hindle, Halal Incorp
Branding is the method by which a company can make their product or business distinctive – it helps you stand out from the crowd. It helps set you apart in the mind of consumers from companies which may be offering similar services.
Branding cultivates associations with a product, for example, certain lifestyles or aesthetics, to give an identity to the business. The associations built entice customers to select your product over others. Branding is made up of characteristics that help people distinguish one company from another. There are many components to this, such as logos, slogans, taglines, design, customer experience and more. The process of branding is the research, development, and application of these features to your company.
It is the process of building the associations you want customers to have when they interact with your product. This process is constantly ongoing – consistency in your branding is important in making sure customers remember you, but equally important is remaining in touch with what people want. Your branding must adapt to suit the changing market. Striking a balance between adapting to people’s changing tastes and keeping in touch with what makes your brand distinctive and appealing, what gives your brand its own identity, is important.
Branding is important
This is of course a great deal of effort. Why bother to go through all this? There are many distinct advantages to putting effort into your branding. It gives your company identity. With the huge number of products and companies available to the modern consumer, especially with the rise of the internet and social media, going the extra mile to stand out pays off.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer mass of different businesses selling products and services that may be like yours. Strong branding helps build recognition. It leaves a lasting impression in people’s memories if your branding seems inconsistent or generic, you and your product are more easily forgotten.
Good branding strategy also helps build customer trust and loyalty, both of which are hard to come by and maintain. If your branding is well developed it gives the impression of a competent, established business that can be relied on to deliver on its promises. It also appeals to people’s emotions, getting them to develop a connection with your business. People are more likely to stick with a business they develop an attachment to.
Consistent, strong branding also builds familiarity, which in turn builds trust. People feel safest with things that are familiar, so are more likely to try out brands that are well established and which they recognise. This also helps build word-of-mouth buzz, as the more people feel passionate about your product the more likely they are to want to recommend it to other people.
But also, advertising goes hand in hand. Branding is essentially another form of advertisement. In advertising, you want to clearly communicate your business identity, stand out to the consumer, be memorable and persuade people that your product can be trusted to do what you say it will. This goal is aided significantly by cohesive branding.
The risk of a bad reputation, which is the point of branding, is that the reputation will end up being negative. To an extent negative associations with a brand are unavoidable. People bring their own ideas and biases that can’t be predicted or controlled by even the slickest branding.
Not having a strong brand identity however is a detriment to you, rather than merely the risk of being one. Branding creates emotional resonance in the minds of customers – in an over-saturated market, people forced to choose between similar products will usually opt for the one whose branding they prefer. People make many subconscious associations that play a part in what products they choose. People will generally choose a branded product over a largely unbranded one because they trust branded products more.
It allows you to control what you communicate to consumers and which demographics you connect with. People seeking characteristics in a product will be attracted by branding that seems to communicate those characteristics. An example of this is cosmetics purporting to be ‘clean’ (free of harmful ingredients, organic, cruelty-free, etc). a lot of clean cosmetics opt for similar branding – similar packaging, design, often lights or neutral/earth tone colours, simple, minimalist designs to convey the idea of purity and simplicity. This branding attracts the kind of customers who is more likely to be interested in buying those products.
Some examples of successful branding include:
- Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world, and one of the world leaders in tech. Apple’s carefully constructed brand is a big part of its success. They have carefully built an association with modernity, high-end products, and sleek, attractive design. This is reflected everywhere from their logo to the design of their Apple stores.
- No discussion of successful branding would be complete without talking about Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is an incredibly enduring brand, having been established in the late 19th century. Smart marketing tactics in the 20thcentury led to Coke being the globally dominant entity they are today. the bold but simple colours and logo are instantly recognisable and not uncommon to see reproduced on clothing, so strong is Coke’s brand identity.
- L’Oreal is one of the leading companies in the cosmetics industry, an incredibly dynamic and competitive market. L’Oreal’s distinctive logo, tagline (‘’because you’re worth it’’), strategic marketing campaigns and celebrity endorsements, among other things, all combine to keep them at the top.
Branding is a complex topic that no one article can completely cover. It is ever evolving as markets and people’s tastes grow and anyone trying to sell their product must pay attention to their current branding and how it is serving their business. It is as crucial as marketing in making your business successful, as good branding ensures your product will be memorable, trusted and find a connection with the right consumer base.
Disclaimer: The view of the author does not necessarily represent the views of Halal Incorp