When we talk about branding, many people think of company logo and colours, and even though that is part of brand identity, branding is deeper than that. There is a lot that goes into corporate branding but simply put branding is creating a perception you want customers to have as they come in contact with your company or use your products or service.
It is important to intentionally think about branding because
1. Whether you intentionally create a brand or not, customers will develop a certain perception of your company. Hence it is important to take charge and create this perception. For example; when using Apple products, you get a perception of being a trendsetter or challenging the norm, this is because Apple has worked hard to develop this perception
2. In this era of information, consumers are swamped with so many choices and more and more people are choosing companies they associate with in terms of values. It is important to identify yourself with your ideal customers and communicate that brand identity effectively
3. Brand differentiates you from your competitors even if you sell similar products or services. For example, they are many car makers but how do you perceive a Toyota Rav4 vs Mercedes Benz S class? That is branding
4. With proper branding you create fans a.k.a customer loyalty. You know how every time someone asks you about which phone to buy, you probably always recommend the same brand to everyone. That is because you are a fan. Fans are customers that come back to buy again and again but also give you free marketing by sharing your product or services with everyone they know. Proper branding helps you achieve this
Now before I continue let me warn you that branding is not a replacement for good quality products or services. No matter how much your branding is on point, if at the end of the day your products do not deliver what you promise then it won’t matter.
Now, there are three things to consider when thinking about Corporate Branding and they are
Brand Strategy is the long-term thinking of your purpose and impact. This is where you create a promise that your products or service will deliver to the user. Brand Strategy is defining how you want the world to see your company.
At this stage ask yourself questions like:
· What problem does my product or service solve?
· Who is my ideal client and how do I make their life easier?
· What do I want people to think/feel when they come into contact with my company?
· What is our why as a company (long term impact)?
Brand Identity is conveying your brand strategy to your ideal audience through visuals, messaging and experience. This can be done through logo, brand colour, website, corporate stationaries, customer experience, content, packaging, and advertising. Your brand identity should be consistent across all channels
The best questions to ask yourself here are:
· How best can I communicate my brand promise?
· What am I doing to make sure people think/feel a certain way when they come into contact with my company?
Brand Marketing is the strategic communication of your brand identity using different channels. The best channels to utilize should be the ones mostly used by your ideal audience.
To bring this in summary and simplify it: Let's take an example of Apple the makers of iPhone, MacBook, iPod and so much more
Brand Strategy: Of course, Apple wanted to identify itself as a challenger of the status quo; since 1983 Lisa Computer was the first computer to have a graphical user interface. They revolutionized the use of a computer to introduce an era of personal computers (PCs). Hence the famous speech by Steve Jobs “Here's to the crazy ones”. Apple’s promise to their user ‘Think Different’ and cutting-edge technology.
Brand Identity & Marketing: The famous slogan ‘Think Different’ is a way to strategically communicate their brand promise. But Apple designs their products differently, packages them differently, and use words like the best performing something in most of their marketing.
Branding may sound like a lot of work and may take time to define especially if you are a new business but it is worth identifying yourself and communicating that to your ideal audience effectively.