The value of good branding. How does it sell?18
Branding. It’s all the rage these days. Everyone knows that having a strong brand is the ultimate goal, but few understand how to achieve it. Does the answer lie in having a cool logo? A nice website? Or perhaps a great social media presence?
No! Good branding goes way beyond a logo, graphic element or any one thing you can do for your business. Good branding embodies the entire customer experience; the expectations, emotions, and interaction. Good branding sells itself and keeps customers coming back time and again.
The purpose of a brand is to set yourself apart from the rest. Whether a personal brand or business, you will no doubt face plenty of competition. Your target customer might have a hard time choosing who to align with if there are no clear distinctions between you and the competition.
Consider some the world’s most recognisable brands: McDonalds is not the only burger joint around, but you can’t talk about fast food without mentioning them; Coca-Cola are just another soft drinks manufacturer in a sea of similar soda pop makers, but billions of people only have eyes for Coke when thirst strikes.
The reason? These brands have spent an immense amount of money and effort aligning their purpose with their target markets. Their logos are renowned the world over, but those symbols represent much more.
Your logo, while not the be all and end all, is an important part of your brand. It is the face of your brand, so to speak. Many people mistakenly talk about their logo as if it were their brand, but in truth, they may not have a brand at all. If your logo is merely a cleverly designed symbol, as aesthetically pleasing as it might be, it is not a brand.
With that said, the two do go hand in hand. It is difficult to develop a strong brand without a well-designed logo. People need the visual cues that tell them what to expect. The logo, if done well, will visually depict everything about your brand: its values, purpose, and identity.
With strong purpose and a well thought out logo, your brand can begin to build its identity. Brands such Apple, Microsoft, and IBM, are all, essentially, in the same line of business. However, none of those brands bear the same identity. Why does one person choose to buy a computer from Microsoft while another stays loyal to Apple? Is IBM’s software so much better than all the rest?
No. IBM’s software is not necessarily better than the competition, but the brand identity that they have spent many years developing continues to attract people who can relate to them rather than the competition. For those same reasons, millions of people pay a premium to own an Apple computer while countless others stick with Microsoft through thick and thin.
Brand identity is one of the most difficult things to achieve, but there is nothing more powerful at cultivating a loyal brand following.
Branding is a long-term exercise. The endeavour is likely to drain every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears from you and your team. But, it is worth it. The long-term profitability and customer loyalty that comes as a result of your efforts is priceless. A strong brand does the job of selling for you and your company. It has the power to impact the customer’s choices in powerful ways that mere sales copy cannot.
Your branding strategy needs to be carefully planned and executed in order to be effective. Like a new born baby, with careful nurturing and development, your brand will begin to walk on its own. You, your customers, and everyone involved will simply get absorbed into the brand’s ecosystem and thrive.