I have no doubts that each of you can recognize the brand represented on the cover picture of this article. However, what factors contribute to the fact that practically every person in the world can recognize these two words on a red background? That's all a matter of brand identity development intended to explain the company's mission to customers and bring a positive experience.
In this article, we will tell you about the importance of branding, give several examples of successful campaigns, as well as some tips on how to brand your product on a budget.
What is branding in business?
The first thing you should understand is that branding does not exactly have to do with the logo, name, trademark or any other symbol of your company. Moreover, it cannot exist within the department of marketing only. I would say that all of these are nothing more than just components of brand development strategy but not the only things affecting it.
So, what is branding actually? Commonly, it is focused on the creation of awareness for a company, as well as the products or services it provides customers. In other words, branding contributes to the creation of the brand's image in your customers' minds.
Well, if not a slogan or logo then what helps customers form this image? That's the reasonable question with a little-blurred answer. In short, your brand's image depends on the total amount of all the impressions your customers get when interacting with anything connected with your business.
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This way, the impressions the customers get can be based on a bunch of factors such as interaction with your product, the company or you personally. The last point is actually the reason why entrepreneurs all over the world start blogging and being interviewed actively. They are developing personal brand that way and to be closer to their target audience at the same time.
Each interaction tells customers something about your brand. So, if they're convinced a product or a service is advanced and innovative those traits become a part of your brand in their minds. Let's say that if you have a beautiful and easy to use e-commerce website, your brand may be perceived as experienced or even world-class. In contrast, if your design is poor and inconvenient you may look cheap and amateurish for your customers.
A few words about the design importance (Source: Kinesis)
Importance of branding to an organization
Nowadays, it is hard to underestimate the influence of a robust brand since the fight for customers is getting more intense each year. So, you should pay attention to brand building strategy since this process leads to a better understanding of business objectives, as well as allows you to align your marketing strategy.
Efficient brand marketing is able to generate new loyal customers along with increased revenue. Except for customer loyalty, it also brings loyal employees since a strong brand gives people something to believe in. Nevertheless, the brand effectivity can be measured not only by the number of purchases but the experience it provides customers with as well.
Let's consider the example of Coca-Cola and Pepsi as confirmation that shows the real power of branding, as well as how to create brand awareness correctly. In 1975, the marketers from Pepsi conducted a curious campaign. They proposed to people in various public places drink two sips of cola from cups that were not marked. After, they were asked which drink they liked most of all. Almost everyone has chosen the cup with Pepsi inside, so the winner was obvious.
The thing is that despite the fact consumers considered Pepsi to be better, Coca-Cola was dominating over Pepsi in market share. So does now, over 40 years after this campaign.
Scholars decided to study physiological reasons on why that choice was made by consumers. Without going into medical details, they conducted their tests with the help of a machine, tracking brain activity.
At first, they were sticking to the original conditions - participants had no idea what they were drinking. The outcomes were exactly the same as after the campaign in 1975 - they liked Pepsi more but now it was proven by the machine.
On the next stage of their research, scientists told participants what exactly they were going to drink. Then, the machine defined that Coke was the winner. As it turned out, drinking the known beverage our brain does not evaluate the taste itself, but memories and experience connected with a particular brand. Scientists pointed out that was the consequences of branding.
Interesting, huh? That is one of the best brand stories showing the importance of branding and it seems like several new reasons to start thinking through your branding strategy. By the way, this example of brand power is applicable to any sphere, be it the digital industry with any web or mobile app development service or even farming with it's foodstuff.
Emotions that drive customers to purchase
Great brand stories of famous companies
It's always interesting to know how already famous companies were coping with different tasks at the very beginning of their startup. So, let's take a look at how to build a strong brand on examples of famous companies.
How did Slack manage to survive and succeed in the area that was inhabited by Skype and other powerful competitors back in 2009? The answer is well-thought-out branding business plan. On one hand, it shows that the product was created for professionals and applicable for businesses. On other hand, it is playful enough to bring some informality there and make people feel cozier.
Cutting back on expenses during traveling by living in a stranger's apartment instead of an ordinary hotel sounds weird at first glance, doesn't it? However, the company's brand development strategy worked more than well. Airbnb speaks to travelers in their language, offering them to explore new places all the time.
Are you fond of Airbnb? Then, read how to create a similar service in our related article or watch our video underneath
In the time when Uber was young, Lyft came onto the stage to present it's on-demand ride service. The key to the survival of Lyft was the fact that it stands out. Bright pink colors instead of discrete shades of black, and friendly community faces instead of elite drivers. Betting on more fun and community elements, Lyft is capable for powerful marketing.
How to build a brand on a budget?
It is high time to say a few words about what steps can be taken to brand your business being on a limited budget.
Identify your personas
Personas are semi-fictional personalities having qualities similar to the target audience you want to be focused on. These personas should embody the needs and goals, as well as behavior that could be applicable for your potential customers. Gathering these factors together, you will be able to understand who consumes your product or service, why they do that, and what media channels they prefer. This way, obtaining this information allows you to reach the right people and build your brand more carefully.
You can start sketching the portraits of your personas with the help of a free tool from HubSpot called MakeMyPersona. The service will ask you several questions intended to figure out your ideal persona.
Free persona defining tool from HubSpot (Source: MakeMyPersona)
Make your social presence great again
We have already identified your personas, so it's a time to learn how to reach the target audience based on them. For this, you should determine on what social networks they are hanging out most frequently and spending the most time. Underneath, you can find the graph showing the demographic situation depending on the social network.
Social networks by users' demographic
The understanding of where the majority of your customers spend their time does not give you a reason to exclude your social presence from other networks where the smaller number of your audience hangs out. So, for building strong brands, you should build your presence focusing on the majority but do not ignore the rest.
The next thing to do is maintain your presence all the time. The company's Facebook page that has no new posts throughout the whole year will barely inspire confidence in your customers and definitely will not make your own brand stronger that way.
Start your blog
In fact, the presence of a blog page on a company's website contributes to the attraction of qualified clients, like the perfect personas we already talked about. That's possible if creating well-heeled content matching the information your potential customers are looking for. Do not forget about SEO optimization.
People search for information all the time. Especially if they are going to get a service in a particular field or purchase an unknown product. Your blog contributes a lot to brand development process. Moreover, it could inform customers about what they are actually looking for. Plus, blogs are one of the most trusted resources, not to mention the fact you will have the material for posting on your social networks all the time.
Let customer service be a priority
Let's take a look at the company Zappos, where customer service is actually the keystone of this brand. In that way, they save a pretty penny instead of spending a lot of money for paying off the marketing or advertising bills.
How to build a great brand without investing lots of money? With the help of the power of word-of-mouth that spreads among those customers who've already purchased something and ones looking for a place to purchase a certain product. It costs nothing for satisfied clients to share their positive experience concerning one service or another within their social circle.
If your brand is only at the very beginning of getting on it's way, it's a great idea to partner with some well-known company. Definitely, all the steps we mentioned before will help you in creation of brand building strategy but it takes time. Meanwhile, you can start a partnership with bigger companies.
Here are some tips on how to pick the right co-partner brand:
- Learn the audience of your companion and find out whether your brand will be interesting for them and how hard it will be to interest this audience without any partnership.
- It should be a win-win partnership, so you should have something to offer your partner also.
- Think about choosing a well-known non-commercial organization as a partner. Studies show that more and more people tend to base their decisions towards purchasing something on the social responsibility of a brand.
So, as you can see, building a brand development strategy may require some endeavors. Nonetheless, branding is possible even on a very limited budget. The main rule you need follow - enjoy what you are doing.
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Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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