What do you understand by a ‘brand’? People often use it interchangeably with the company name. A ‘brand’ in real sense is a lot more than that.
A brand reflects what a company is all about and the kind of experience or products the consumer is going to buy.
For instance, Coca Cola uses the phrase ‘Have a Coke and a smile’, so whenever you think of the soft drink brand you think about happiness.
Similarly, when you think about Nike, you think about power and heroism. Again when you think about iPhone, you think about an amazing digital experience.
Therefore you need to have a strong brand strategy that will help you create a strong brand identity.
Brand identity is the way a company represents itself to the customers; whereas brand strategy is the continuous effort for development of a successful brand that will help the company achieve specific goals.
Why Having a Strong Brand Identity is Important?
Strong brands are not built in one day. A lot of hard work and thoughtfulness is required to build a brand that customers would be willing to engage with. Creating a strong brand identity benefits your company in many ways:
- It increases the brand’s perceived equity. For example Coca Cola being a well-known brand, the company can sell its products at a higher price compared to other lesser-known soft drink brands. A strong brand translates to high-quality, so customers are willing to pay more.
- The greatest brands connect with their customers emotionally, therefore the customers are more likely to stay loyal. Nike, for example, uses emotional branding to build customer loyalty.
- Strong brands motivate employees. Loyal and productive employees are great assets for a company and they become enthusiastic brand advocates to spread the message around.
3 Branding Strategies to Add Value to Your Business
The brand strategy reinforces company’s position in the market. When executed successfully, it will help you create a successful brand that will help you achieve your business goals. Here are 3 branding strategies that will add value to your business:
- Define a Brand Promise
Brand promise is a message that speaks to your targeted audience about what to expect by using your products/services.
However, according to Allen Adamson, the chairman of the North American region of brand consulting and design firm Landor Associates, defining a brand promise is not sufficient; defining the purpose is important as well. Defining the purpose differentiates you from your competition.
For instance, IKEA promises to offer its customers with best quality furniture at affordable prices. But what differentiates IKEA from other online furniture sellers is their purpose of helping their customers ‘create a better life everyday’.
- Brand Consistency
Creating a strong brand identity that keeps you at the forefront of your targeted audience is important but maintaining it is even more important. This means you must never engage in activities that might confuse your customers.
You need to make sure all your messages – whether it is an update on your Facebook Business Page, a photo posted to your Instagram account or a video on YouTube, are consistent with your brand identity.
Target, one of the largest retail stores has been a winner when it comes to brand consistency. It has had the same logo for over 50 years.
The brand consistency stretches across all the marketing platforms that focus on the Target shopping experience – “Expect more. Pay less.” the tagline that they currently use. A consistent color scheme and their continuous effort to promote the store as high-end discount store with better quality products and exceptional customer service have paid off.
Another company that nailed the brand consistency notion is Coca Cola. Every element of the brand’s marketing work harmoniously together and this has helped them become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Whether it is about promoting the company on social media or through traditional advertising, the brand has maintained its consistency seamlessly.
Branding’ adds a personality and attitude to the product/services and this is what people relate to. Make one mistake and all your efforts go down the drains. Hence make sure you maintain the tone of your voice, the color scheme, the logo and everything else that helps people identify your brand.
- Emotional Attachment
Have you ever wondered why some ads sell more than the others? It is simply because they tap into the customer’s emotions. According to Unruly, the most-shared ads of 2015 relied heavily on emotional content.
Android’s ‘Friends Furever’ was the most-shared ad of 2015. The ad contains clips of cute animals that are sure to make people emotional. In fact the top three most shared ads all feature dogs as the central characters.
But you must be very careful when using animals to tap into people’s emotions since a small mistake can disrupt feelings severely.
In another instance, MetLife Hong Kong created an ad featuring a father-daughter relationship. The cute little girl describes the things she loves about her dad and how he makes her happy. The twist comes in when she also describes the way he lies to her, just to make her happy.
Brands have tapped into a number of emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger and others to build a brand identity. When done correctly you can benefit immensely by tapping into the audience’s emotions, but remember it is a tricky terrain. So you must be very careful.
Building a brand strategy isn’t easy, but if you can do it properly you will never have to look back. Sure there are others who may sell products or offer services similar to yours, but you can make yourself stand out by creating a strong brand.
What is your company doing to build a brand? Share with us.
Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M, a full service digital marketing agency and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, and other major events across Asia. As a passionate marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge on publications like Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web and the Huffington Post to name a few. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.