What is branding and why is it important?
Strong branding is fundamental to your marketing efforts. Get it right and you can expect customers to buy more, pay more, and stay loyal.
So what is branding exactly?
Visually, a brand is the name, colours and logo associated with you as the seller (or manufacturer) of a product or service.
More than that though, brand is who you are and what you believe in. Like it or not, when someone mentions your brand it will evoke a perception (good or bad) in the listener’s mind.
Successful brands are those that are able to inspire others by living by a set of beliefs and values that match their target audience.
For me, a perfect and current example of such a brand is Airbnb. Since it’s launch into an established market 10 years ago, Airbnb has already grown to hold an almost 8% share of the market for overnight stays in London (source: Wired).
Airbnb is about more than free wifi or good pillows. Two of its founders (Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia) started the first Airbnb by renting out their spare room to pay the rent. Many doubted this could work as a real business, strangers staying in each other’s homes?
The reality was that strangers around the world proved this was possible and in doing so provide a welcoming, home from home environment. From there the idea and belief was born that Airbnb could allow anyone to feel at home anywhere. This deep rooted understanding and vision has inspired its community of hosts and guests around the world and expedited the company’s growth.
What is it that your business is striving to achieve for your customers or community? Is it at the heart of all you do? If it is, you’re on course to building a successful brand, and with it the following benefits.
The advantages of branding:
1. Branding builds awareness
With a consistent brand image, recognition and awareness of your brand will be increased. When consumers recognise your brand and what you’re about, buying decisions become easier.
Think about when you travel. So much is unknown in a new place, but the sight of a recognised food chain can be a welcome relief. How often have you opted for McDonalds because you know what you’ll get?
Using your brand identity consistently across all customer touch-points will aid awareness. Consistent use of colour is said to increase brand recognition by up to 80%.
2. Branding can give competitive advantage
In a world with so much choice, how do you make YOUR products or services stand out from the crowd? A strong brand can do this job, communicating your Unique Selling Point (USP). What is it that you do differently (and better) than your competitors? Thinking back to our Airbnb example, in an established market they could only survive by inspiring their audience with their personality and vision.
There are so many other examples of this it’s hard to choose just one, but Tesco does it brilliantly. Their strapline ‘Every little helps’ succinctly communicates their offering perfectly. The thought behind it being to create a better shopping trip for its customers. The tagline acts as a perfect ‘guide’ with all new ideas, allowing Tesco to ask itself, will this help our customers?
As such, its many initiatives all contribute to the ‘Every little helps’ philosophy, whether that’s great pricing, in-store facilities, Clubcard points, re-usable bags and so on. Two years after the slogan was introduced, Tesco overtook Sainsbury’s as market leader.
3. Become an attractive employer
With a good employer brand, you’re likely to attract more candidates for job posts. With more choice, you can select the best!
Michael Page suggest that for candidates early in their career, having a recognised brand on their CV is seen as a benefit.
However companies must go further than this to secure and retain top talent in the long term. ‘Employer brands’ are increasingly forming part of HR strategies, with company culture, working benefits, market position and more being defined and delivered upon to build employer reputation.
Leading home assistance provider, HomeServe have been named as one of the top four employers in the UK. CEO Greg Reed said “Our People are right at the heart of everything we do. If we take care of our People, they take care of the Customers and the rest takes care of itself. That’s why we strive to fulfil our ambition of being one of the best places to work in the UK.”
4. Great customer service is easier to deliver with clear brand values
I have already discussed that in developing a strong brand is the foundation of a set of beliefs and values to live by. As important as communicating this to your audience is sharing these values with your staff. When they understand exactly the service you want to provide, it helps them to deliver it time and time again.
The consistent delivery of these values through the products and services you provide will create a positive brand perception and thus, the advantages that come with it.
5. Successful branding drives customer loyalty
Consumers and buyers want to buy from brands they know, so having a recognised brand is the first step to creating creating a loyal following. If you’re consistently delivering the service you promise, it should be no surprise that customers will come back. Who wouldn’t want to experience that same good service twice?
The Pareto Principle concludes that 20% of customers will account for 80% of sales, illustrating the importance of building a loyal customer base.
6. Successful branding leads to positive price elasticity
Sounds good doesn’t it? What we know is that where you have a trusted brand, the sensitivity to price becomes less.
A current (well known) example has to be the iPhone. In September 2017, Apple introduced the iPhone X and with it, it’s highest price point yet. A recent study found that since the launch of the first iPhone, consumers have gradually become less and less sensitive to price. It’s little surprise then, that Apple are able to charge an increasingly higher price for its handsets.
7. A trusted brand shortcuts the buying process
I’ve already discussed how loyalty is a benefit of having a strong brand; this loyalty not only helps bring about repeat purchases but really comes into its own when launching new products.
When an established, trusted brand introduces a new product or service, consumers and buyers don’t feel the same need to carry out as much research as they would for an unknown brand.
If we look back to the example of the iPhone X, loyal Apple consumers readily accepted the newest handset without question and with it, the higher price. It’s fair to say that an unknown brand wouldn’t have achieved the same success with an identical device.
So, when you have a trusted brand, you are able to direct customers much more quickly through the buying process and see success sooner.
How WONDROUS can help?
What is it that you want your prospects and customers to feel about you? This is your brand values and story. We’ll work with you to define them and will use them to guide the design of your visual identity to ensure authenticity and consistency throughout every customer touch-point.
We understand that building a strong brand doesn’t happen overnight, but with such amazing benefits, can you afford to neglect it?