Branding is the process of creating an association between a symbol/object/emotion/perception and a product/company with the goal of driving loyalty and creating differentiation. For example, through product packaging and advertising, Coca Cola has created an association between many different elements of its brand to its consumers. The hourglass shaped bottle, the red and white colors, and even the font of its logo together make Coca Cola distinctive from its competitors. Branding has many shapes, forms and mediums i.e. brochures, flyers, company business cards, postcards, website, newsletter, packaging and even the office interior and exterior. All these and a constant advertising has been successful in reinforcing past positive associations between the brand and consumers. Including your logo on every marketing piece from business cards to your signage can help customers recognize your brand.
In the corporate realm, a corporate brand distinguishes a company from its competitors in the market. Today, however, a brand goes beyond mere differentiation but brand management is now complex, dynamic, and multidimensional. The brand management now addresses a host of interrelated issues.
Additionally, corporate brand management requires the strong backup of marketing, promotion, advertising strategies and creative thinking which helps to come up with novel ideas of brand positioning. Managing a corporate brand is not simply about projecting the visual identity of a corporation through a logo or slogan but it is about winning a battle, an arduous and challenging one to be sure, especially with the brand itself serving a dual and seemingly contradictory purpose as an ultimate weapon, and at the same time as the most precious but fragile possession that we must defend.
Social and Financial Benefits of Branding
Planning for branding without counting on gains is something corporations do not do. The benefits of branding are numerous which is why companies tend to promote their products, services and most importantly themselves as potential brand for competitors in their respective industry. Followings are some advantages of branding your product, service or cause:
Unpaid Loyalty of Customer
Branding creates trust and an emotional attachment to your product or company. This attachment then causes your market to make decisions based, at least in part, upon emotion not necessarily just for logical or intellectual reasons. Branding your service or product costs you but in return the earned loyalty comes free with much financial benefit.
No Hesitations in Paying More
Creating a strong brand gives a sense of superiority to its customers. It is beyond doubt that branding needs vision, clarity and money but in the result all these efforts make the brand premium. A strong brand can command a premium price and maximize the number of units that can be sold at that premium. It has significant impact on customerâ€™s credit card while purchasing Chanel or Nike but on the other hand the confidence of wearing brand is also exceptional.
Brand is a competitive edge that separates you from your competitors in the minds of potential customers. The more you build your brand, the more you elevate yourself above your peers, and the less you have to work to convince people you are the solution to their problems.A brand will help you articulate your company’s values and explain why you are competing in your market.
No need for Salesmen
Branding helps make purchasing decisions easier. In this way, branding delivers a very important benefit. In a commodity market where features and benefits are virtually indistinguishable, a strong brand will help your customers trust you and create a set of expectations about your products without even knowing the specifics of product features.
A brand provides a window which gives an insight of what your business is about and what it stands for. A slogan and a business name for example can tell viewers what the business is about in a few simple words. This is very helpful in the beginning stages of starting your business to spread awareness when it is still unknown.
The brand is built upon some basic values, goals, skills and passions. It comes directly from the ownerâ€™s quest for meaning and fulfillment. It grows from what the company stands for. It is one hundred percent original, and nobody else. Organizations try not to put on a fake persona or a contrived image that isnâ€™t genuinely trustworthy or true. Branding the product or service gives an impression of being authenticated to its buyers.
Branding has a big effect on non-customers too because familiarity induces liking. It is possible that people who have never done business with you but have encountered your company identity sufficient times may become willing to recommend you. Looking at your ads on local buses, having your pen on their desk, and by reading about you, they spread the word for you when a friend or colleague.
Branding gives an excellent opportunity to spread your business by extending your already known brand by relating new products with it. In other words, one well reputed brand of yours helps you to come up with a range of products or services minimizing the budget of launching a new product all together.
Branding helps to brush off the dust over brand. The negative speculation about any product or service will always effect its revenue generation. In order to minimize the misleading information about your product it is highly advised to be proactive and with the help of branding let your consumer feel confident about your product.
A less known financial benefit of branding is that with the help of turning your company into a brand usually means that you can get more money for the company when you decide to sell it. The stated means that if you turn your company in to a brand then it adds to its equity. For example if Nike owners want to sale it then they will not be given price of their assets but buyer will have to pay for Nike the brand itself. It means branding not only benefits owner in present but it is a long term investment for safe and secure future if decided to sale or merge it.
Lower Marketing Expenses
It is evident that you must invest money to create a brand but once it’s created you can live with it without raising its marketing budget every year. Companies usually maintain their brand without having to tell the all the details about the brand every time they market it. For instance, it will be enough for Coca Cola to put its logo on any banner, billboard or broacher without describing what Coca Cola actually is, because it has established itself as a brand now.
Risk Free Consumption of Your Brand
Branding has a very unique advantage in revenue generation. It helps the customer when he is under pressure of choosing between two products. It is evident that he will consider buying the product he has heard about. It elevates the element of risk for customers as well companyâ€™s revenue.
Alter the Attitude of Customers
Despite of numerous financial benefits of branding there are other advantages which usually helps in building the image of brand among its customers. There are some incidents which tarnish the image of company and at that stage re-building the brand helps in changing the attitudes of its customers.
There were not so many options in early days when customers had to believe on the opinions of retailers, when making the purchases of products. With the rapid spread of media and advertising to every nook and corner of the world, people have become aware of the various products. In todayâ€™s world retailers no long can influence the customer due to the direct communication between manufacturer and customer through branding/advertising.
Companies usually feel reluctant in branding during recession or economic turmoil. However, it has been seen through research that advertising and branding during economic downturn give competitive advantage over competitors. Organizationâ€™s decision to keep on advertising gives boost and confidence within the organization. It allows its employees to feel more confident in the company management which allow them to work dedicatedly.
Above stated advantages are important and notable however, there are some more significant gains of branding that have been benefiting companies like it will help to fence off customers from the competition and protect market share while building mind share. Once brand earns mind share, customers will automatically think of buying it first when they think of that product category.
The Bottom Line
The advertising world has grown enormously. In this industry you will have to be vigilant and patient before investing your money on it. There are some precautionary measures must be kept in mind while spending your money on branding. Selecting the appropriate media, composing the right message for your target market, intent of branding and using projection of right image of your brand are some important aspects to consider before going ahead with branding plan.
All the above stated benefits are significant and the core purpose of investing money in branding is to earn much more you put in. These all are few tricks of trade which give companies an edge over its competitors as well as raise the stock rate.