Vida Barr Jones is the managing director of the branding and marketing agency, Focus7 International, which specialises in impactful creative, intelligent CRM systems and dynamic digital builds. It lives up to its strapline “we don’t do dull!” In this guest post, she gives us seven examples that highlight the importance of branding.
Branding is everywhere, from the clothes we wear, to the food we eat and the products we use – there’s no escaping it. For that reason, branding plays an extremely important role in business and in the choices that consumers make.
What is branding?
Branding used to be a simple concept defined by a logo, design, imagery and slogan. However, the progression in marketing has led to branding becoming far more complex. Branding is now about the perception that a consumer has of a company. For example, the perception a person has when they see, hear or think of a certain brand, and their feelings towards them. A brand is no longer recognisable just for its logo, but for everything that surrounds it that makes it a whole.
Why is branding so important?
With so many different brands around, the quest for consumer attention is becoming more and more difficult. Therefore, to ensure that your company doesn’t get lost in your competitors’ shadows, it’s important to spend time researching and building your brand. A strong brand is essential to brand positioning, and towards creating an effective marketing plan.
A well-developed brand with fantastic ethos and values is far more likely to build loyal relationships with their customers, as research shows that 94% of consumers are loyal to brands that offer complete transparency.
Here are 7 other examples highlighting the importance of branding:
1. Branding helps consumers identify and recognize your products and organisation
By branding your business, you’re giving it an identity, and just like people and places, a well-designed brand has the ability to be instantly recognisable. This, of course, helps consumers to identify who you are, what you do and what your products are, all from either seeing or hearing about you brand. The more recognisable you are as a brand, the more engagement and loyal customers you will have. Find out how to create a professional brand identity here.
An example of a brand with a strong defining image and sense of personality is the popular fast food chain, KFC. What makes KFC’s branding so iconic and identifiable is the brand’s use of colour, tone of voice, humour, and character. In a recent mishap that lead to many KFC restaurants closing due to the lack of chicken, the brand responded with a playful, yet apologetic, ‘FCK’ advert that became a work of PR genius. The reason for such a successful response was greatly due to KFC’s ability to remain on brand whilst making light of their mistake and maintaining sincerity about their values.
Another reason why branding is so important is that it helps you to stand out against your competitors. With so many businesses in every market, it’s almost impossible to create something entirely new. However, that does not mean that there isn’t a place for multiple brands in the same market, just as long as they each bring a unique prospective to the field. That’s where branding comes in.
For example, the beauty industry is a booming market, so how does a brand differentiate themselves from its competitors? The answer is branding. A company who are extremely effective at this are Lush, who are experts at driving their passion and ethos together to create products that are natural, environmentally friendly and cruelty free.
3. Branding helps you to connect with consumers’ emotions
Storytelling and evoking emotion in your customers is an important aspect of branding. How you make a customer feel has a massive impact on your brand’s reputation, and also generates loyal customers who are excited to see more from you. Consumers are no longer buying products solely based on the product itself; instead, they are now buying into a brand’s lifestyle.
Footwear company TOMS is well known for their emotive storytelling and the ethical social responsibility that makes the brand a success. The TOMS mission is to ‘buy one, give one’ so, with every product purchased, TOMS help a person in need around the world.
4. It helps your consumers to know what to expect from you
Branding is also important to your consumers, as they know what to expect from you as a brand. For example, if your branding evokes a sense of luxury, but your products don’t match that description, you risk selling a false pretence to your consumers. Not only does this make positioning your brand far more difficult, consumers won’t know what to expect from you and therefore you’ll lose business to your competitors.
A popular brand that excels at this is IKEA. Throughout their branding and messaging, IKEA makes it clear to their consumers that the products they offer are modern, easy to ensemble and affordable. By stressing this message consistently across their marketing, IKEA are able to target their ideal audience, and consumers know exactly what to expect from the brand. It’s what makes them such a success.
5. Branding helps you to build trust
Trust is highly valued in branding and marketing, especially as consumers become more sceptical about where their products are coming from, their quality, and the ethical and social issues surrounding market industries. Consumers are also now looking for brands that go out of their way to deliver quality service and excellent products, time and time again.
One of the UK’s leading trusted brands is department store John Lewis, popular for its range of high quality products, excellent customer experience, as well as overall integrity as a brand: ‘Never knowingly undersold’. This also creates a sense of trust between consumers and the brand, and a feel good factor.
6. It provides you with a strategy and focus
It’s also important to brand your business to develop a strategy and focus. When it comes to creating a positioning strategy, or marketing and business strategy, it is impossible to do so without strong branding – the two work together. It also helps you to define your purpose, what your business is trying to achieve, what value you provide, and to sum up what you do. Brand development is also key to creating new strategies in the future.
An example of a brand with a clear strategy and focus is Airbnb. Through their branding, they speak to their customers by showing them what they desire before they know it themselves. It’s this ability to predict consumer needs, and make it exciting that makes Airbnb experts at brand strategy.
7. Branding helps your business to grow
Finally, branding simply helps your business to grow, especially start-ups. All of the examples mentioned above contribute towards business growth, and towards creating a truly unique and successful brand. It’s a combination of having a strong USP, a clear strategy, trust, storytelling and emotion, and recognition.
Focus7 and Rough House work together providing marketing and PR support for a mutual client. If you’d like to find out more about how we could help you, do get in touch.