Brand & Marketing

What is Branding?

Let’s hear what people have to say about branding

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit

“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” – Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes

“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” – Walter Landor, Founder of Landor Associates

“Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.” – Jonah Sachs, Author and Co-Founder of Free Range Studios

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon

“A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.” – Lisa Gansky, Entrepreneur and Author

“Branding is the art of differentiation.” – John L. Williams, Author and Marketing Expert

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time.” – Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX

“Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Branding is about shaping that perception.” – Ashley Friedlein, Founder of Econsultancy

Brand traces back to ancient times

The concept of branding has been around for thousands of years. The earliest known use of branding was by ancient Egyptians, who used hieroglyphics and symbols to mark their livestock. Similarly, ancient Greeks and Romans also marked their goods to indicate their origin and quality.

The word “brand” actually comes from the Old Norse word “brandr,” which means “to burn.” In medieval Europe, branding was used as a means of marking property, livestock, and other belongings.

However, the modern concept of branding as we know it today – the idea of creating a unique identity and reputation for a product or service – emerged during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. With the rise of mass production, companies began to realise the importance of standing out from their competitors, and branding became an essential part of marketing and advertising.

Top 10 things most successful brands do well

  1. Consistency: Successful brands maintain consistency in all aspects of their business, including their messaging, branding, and customer experience. This helps build trust and loyalty with customers.
  2. Customer Focus: Successful brands prioritise their customers’ needs and desires, and strive to provide a positive and memorable experience at every touch point. This helps to create a strong emotional connection between the brand and its customers.
  3. Innovation: Successful brands are always looking for ways to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. They are not afraid to take risks and try new things, which helps them stay relevant and maintain their competitive edge.
  4. Authenticity: Successful brands are authentic and true to themselves. They have a clear sense of their values, mission, and purpose, and they communicate these values consistently and honestly to their customers.
  5. Storytelling: Successful brands use storytelling to create an emotional connection with their customers. They tell a compelling and authentic story about their brand, products, and values, which helps to build trust and loyalty with their customers.
  6. Differentiation: Successful brands have a unique selling proposition that sets them apart from their competitors. They differentiate themselves by offering something unique or different, which helps them stand out in a crowded market.
  7. Adaptability: Successful brands are adaptable and able to respond to changes in the market or customer needs. They are not afraid to pivot their strategy or make changes to their products or services in order to stay relevant.
  8. Brand Awareness: Successful brands invest in building brand awareness through marketing and advertising. They understand the importance of getting their brand in front of as many people as possible, and they do this through a variety of channels, including social media, influencer partnerships, and traditional advertising.
  9. Quality: Successful brands prioritise quality in their products or services. They understand that providing a high-quality product or service is essential to building trust and loyalty with customers.
  10. Employee Engagement: Successful brands understand the importance of employee engagement and the role it plays in delivering a positive customer experience. They invest in their employees and create a positive company culture, which helps to attract and retain top talent and ultimately leads to better customer service.

How to build a successful brand?

Building a successful brand takes time, effort, and a strategic approach. Here are some steps to help you build a successful brand:

  1. Define your brand: Start by defining your brand’s mission, values, and unique selling proposition. Consider what sets your brand apart from your competitors and what you want your brand to represent.
  2. Identify your target audience: Understand who your target audience is and what they value. This will help you create messaging and marketing strategies that resonate with your target audience.
  3. Develop a strong visual identity: Your brand’s visual identity, including your logo, colour scheme, and typography, should be consistent across all touch points. This helps to create a recognisable and memorable brand.
  4. Create a brand voice: Your brand’s voice should be consistent across all communications and should reflect your brand’s personality and values. Consider the tone, language, and messaging that best represents your brand.
  5. Build a strong online presence: A strong online presence is essential in today’s digital age. This includes a user-friendly website, social media profiles, and other online marketing channels.
  6. Deliver exceptional customer experiences: Providing exceptional customer service and experiences is essential to building trust and loyalty with customers. Consider every touchpoint with your customers and strive to make each experience memorable.
  7. Stay consistent: Consistency is key to building a strong brand. Your brand messaging, visual identity, and customer experience should be consistent across all touchpoints.
  8. Measure and adapt: Measure the effectiveness of your brand-building efforts and be willing to adapt your strategy as needed. Continually monitoring your brand’s performance and customer feedback can help you stay on track and make improvements where necessary.

Remember, building a successful brand takes time and effort. Stay committed to your brand vision and consistently deliver exceptional experiences to your customers.

Investing in your brand

The amount a company should invest in brand building depends on various factors, such as the size of the company, the industry, the target market, and the competitive landscape. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to allocate between 5-10% of your total revenue towards brand building activities. However, this is not a hard and fast rule and can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the company.

It’s also important to note that brand building is an ongoing process and not a one-time event. Therefore, it’s recommended that companies have a consistent budget for brand building activities. This ensures that brand building efforts are sustainable and that the brand remains top of mind for customers over time.

Having a consistent budget for brand building activities can also help companies plan and prioritise their brand building efforts effectively. It allows them to allocate resources towards the activities that are most effective in achieving their brand objectives, whether it’s building brand awareness, improving brand loyalty, or differentiating the brand from competitors.

Performance marketing is not branding

There is a common misconception that spending in performance marketing helps with brand building and that a dedicated branding campaign is not necessary. While performance marketing can help generate online revenue, it is not a substitute for brand building activities.

Performance marketing is typically focused on driving short-term conversions and revenue, whereas branding campaigns are focused on building long-term brand awareness, trust, and loyalty. A successful branding campaign can help a company differentiate itself from competitors and build a strong emotional connection with customers, which can ultimately lead to increased customer loyalty, higher customer lifetime value, and increased revenue over time.

While performance marketing can be effective in generating immediate sales, it may not necessarily help a company build a strong brand identity or create a lasting impact on customers. Therefore, a balanced approach is recommended, where a company invests in both performance marketing and brand building activities to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.

Therefore, it’s important to understand that performance marketing and branding campaigns serve different purposes and should be viewed as complementary, rather than competing, strategies. Both are necessary for a well-rounded and effective marketing approach.

Share your brand value by telling your story

Storytelling is a powerful brand building tactic because it allows companies to connect with their audience on a deeper, emotional level. When done effectively, storytelling can help companies convey their brand values and personality, build trust and authenticity with customers, and differentiate themselves from competitors.

Some other approaches that companies use to share their brand values include:

  1. Cause marketing: Companies align themselves with social or environmental causes and communicate their commitment to those causes through marketing and advertising efforts.
  2. Influencer marketing: Companies partner with social media influencers who align with their brand values and can help reach new audiences and build credibility.
  3. Community building: Companies create or participate in communities that share their brand values and engage with members through social media, events, and other activities.
  4. Content marketing: Companies create valuable, educational, or entertaining content that aligns with their brand values and helps build a relationship with their audience.
  5. Customer experience: Companies create a positive and consistent customer experience across all touch points, which reinforces their brand values and builds customer loyalty.

Be aware that these approaches are not mutually exclusive and can be used in combination to create a comprehensive brand building strategy. The key is to align all marketing efforts with the company’s brand values and personality to create a cohesive and authentic brand identity.

Branding guideline is a must have

Having clear branding guidelines that define a brand’s visual and verbal identity is crucial for creating a strong and consistent brand identity across all channels, both online and offline. By defining key brand principles like logo, typography, colour palette, and tone of voice, a company can ensure that all communications and marketing materials are aligned with the brand’s personality, values, and mission.

It’s also important for companies to periodically review and refine their branding guidelines over time to ensure that they remain relevant and effective. As consumer preferences and trends change, a brand’s visual identity and messaging may need to be adjusted to stay current and resonate with its audience. For example, companies may update their logo to reflect a more modern or simplified design, or adjust their tone of voice to better connect with a younger demographic.

There are several other important brand definitions that can help shape a brand’s identity, including:

  1. Brand positioning: This is the unique value proposition that a brand offers to its customers, and how it differentiates itself from competitors.
  2. Brand story: This is the narrative that explains a brand’s origins, values, and mission, and helps to create an emotional connection with customers.
  3. Brand promise: This is the commitment that a brand makes to its customers, and the expectations it sets for the products or services it offers.
  4. Brand experience: This is the overall customer experience of interacting with a brand across all touch points, and how it aligns with the brand’s values and mission.

By defining and refining these important brand elements over time, companies can create a strong and memorable brand identity that resonates with its target audience and helps to build brand loyalty.

Your brand should have a personality

Brand personality refers to the set of human characteristics, traits, and values that are attributed to a brand. It is the way a brand presents itself to its audience, and the emotions and associations that it evokes in the minds of customers. A brand’s personality can be expressed through its visual identity, messaging, tone of voice, and the way it interacts with its audience.

A brand’s personality is an important aspect of building a strong brand identity and creating a connection with customers. It helps to differentiate the brand from competitors and create a unique and memorable brand experience. A well-defined brand personality can also help to create brand loyalty, as customers are more likely to identify with and trust a brand that has a clear and consistent personality.

There are several different approaches to defining a brand’s personality, but one common framework is the use of personality traits. This involves selecting a set of human personality traits that are most relevant to the brand and expressing them through the brand’s visual and verbal identity. For example, a brand might choose traits like “innovative”, “confident”, and “friendly” to define its personality, and express these traits through its messaging and visual design.

It’s important to note that a brand’s personality should be authentic and aligned with its values and mission. A brand that tries to portray a personality that doesn’t align with its actions or values can come across as inauthentic and damage its reputation. Therefore, it’s important for companies to carefully consider their brand personality and ensure that it is an accurate representation of who they are and what they stand for.

Customer Loyalty – the ultimate branding rewards

Customer loyalty is a crucial measure of brand success because it represents the degree to which customers are committed to a brand and willing to repeatedly choose it over its competitors. When customers are loyal to a brand, they are more likely to make repeat purchases, recommend the brand to others, and defend it in the face of criticism.

There are several reasons why customer loyalty is so important for brand success:

  1. Increased profitability: Loyal customers tend to spend more and make more frequent purchases than non-loyal customers, which can lead to increased revenue and profitability for the brand.
  2. Lower marketing costs: Acquiring new customers can be expensive, so having a base of loyal customers can reduce the need for expensive marketing campaigns aimed at new customer acquisition.
  3. Stronger brand reputation: When customers are loyal to a brand, they are more likely to speak positively about it to others, which can help to build a strong brand reputation and attract new customers.
  4. Greater resilience to competition: When customers are loyal to a brand, they are less likely to be swayed by competitor offerings, making the brand more resilient to competitive pressures.

Overall, customer loyalty is a key indicator of a brand’s success because it is a reflection of the degree to which customers value and trust the brand. By building strong relationships with customers and delivering exceptional products and services, brands can foster customer loyalty and create a foundation for long-term success.

By Ethan

To many, a business is a lifetime commitment. It's easy to start one yet difficult to make it successful. Attitude, skills, experiences and dedication help hone the craft along the way, but it's often the great vision and resilience to remain focused wins the game. Read more about me here