Branding is possibly the most vague of the marketing responsibilities. Like any business activity, branding needs to be focused on increasing the value of the organization and it’s shareholders and smart marketers do just that.
The goal of developing and maintaining a brand is building preference and trust as well as increasing the willingness of a perspective buyer to pay a premium for your products and services. For example, Frosted Flakes© by Kellogg’s is considered a strong brand because of it’s ability to attract buyers that prefer it over it’s competition (such as generic products) and because it’s able to command a premium price that is typically 50% to 100% higher than a generic sugar-coated corn flakes cereal. These two goals are very intertwined but it helps to think of them as two separate activities so that you can measure results in each and monitor progress or regression over time.
Within these two goals are many sub-goals that help you accomplish the higher level result of creating & maintaining company value. The most widely accepted of these sub-goals is developing an identity for your company or organization that people can use to identify your company easily and will demonstrate what sets you apart from your competition.
How does building a clear identity help increase preference for your brand?
When people are able to easily identify your brand, it becomes familiar to them. Generally speaking, people have a preference for familiar things and people.
In addition, if your brand clearly speaks to what sets you apart from your competition, you will likely attract good quality customers and repel those who are not the right audience for your brand.
What Does This Involve?
What you need to know about branding is that there is much more involved than simply designing a logo and some letterhead. You must know your target audience. What are they looking for in the companies they work with? How do you want them to react emotionally to your branding materials and how can you make that happen? What can you to in order to gain enough consumer confidence that they develop a brand loyalty to your products or services?
You must research your target demographic. Know their age, their education level, their common likes and dislikes. Perhaps even knowing their political affiliations is a good idea. The more information you have about your audience, the better your chances for catching their attention and gaining their loyalty.
There are many different things that you will need to do to effectively develop a branding strategy and brand identity for your company. You should invest as much time and attention to this part of your business as necessary to generate success.
You can find out more about branding from the experts who have build successful branding and marketing campaigns for other organizations. The best way to get started is to look at what your competitors are doing. Find out what techniques they are using and look at what is working for them.
If you want to learn more about branding and how to develop and use a brand to your advantage, here are some valuable resources to consider. Many are free and will provide you with a lot of great information. The books listed below contain a significant amount of information about branding and setting up a successful program for reaching out to your customers.
- Building Strong Brands – David A. Aaker (ISBN: 978-0029001516)
- How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding – Douglas Holt (ISBN: 978-1578517749)
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding – Al Ries (ISBN: 978-0060007737)