The Science Behind Branding – An Essential Element of Establishing a Brand
While the word ‘Branding' is very commonly used in business today, its routes can be traced back about 1500 years. What is branding, and how can you use the science behind branding to help your business succeed?
Over the years, the thoughts behind a brand have evolved as new ideas come and go.
A Brand can be described as a physical entity or a mental representation, enabling a consumer to think that the product or service has a unique benefit (beyond the cost and performance). Others define a brand as a symbol serving to distinguish one company's products and services from another. No matter what your definition, branding is an essential element to your business's success.
The Science Behind Branding
A brand is thought of as a visual tool, just one element of your business's tool kit. However, there is much more to a brand. While your product must be eye-catching to attract the buyer, some strings pull a purchaser towards your specific brand. A brand must appeal to consumer needs and emotions, suggesting it will help consumers on their life path. A successful brand addresses these needs successfully.
In saying that, your brand should not only be customer-centric. There are many other benefits your company can experience through having a strong brand. Throughout your company, stakeholders are impacted through brand by way of staff retention, better-negotiating terms with vendors and creditors, credible suppliers, and regulators. Branding is an essential key to financial success.
There are three key elements you should consider when branding your business:
- Brand identity
- Brand image
- Brand positioning
Brand identity is how your business is identified by its target audience and stakeholders while maintaining alignment with your goals and values. To successfully do this, you must understand your competitors, your target market, and the general industry environment.
You can create a brand identity through elements such as your name, logo, colors, tone, slogan, font, and packaging.
Brand image is how your target market perceives you instead of brand identity, which is how you wish to be perceived. If the two factors do not align, you need to re-evaluate your position. A successfully developed brand identity can be described as a person with unique characteristics, values, and differentiative features. With a good brand identity, your business can achieve customer loyalty, high credibility, good prices, and financial returns.
Another aspect of brand identity is the image relayed through your employees. Company values or core values are a component of your company's branding, as consumers use these to align with their own beliefs. How you intend to manage your internal affairs and how you react to customers and their needs is integral. The values set will affect everything the business touches, such as marketing strategies and branding. It is vital to maintain these values, or it can severely damage your business's internal or external identity. Having exact company values will increase profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction and reduce quality incidents.
Even though the image is the oldest component of branding, it is still vital as it is highly visible to your consumers.
Imagery elements include:
These elements are essential to get right as they allow your business to differ from the competition and convey a verbal and visual representation of what you stand for. You can use these elements to draw in targeted and like-minded consumers.
Brand image can be an area of competitive advantage for small businesses as you have agility and fluidity to change direction rapidly should it be required. Also, in today's social media marketing environment, creative and inexpensive marketing can overcome larger company marketing investments and have an equally large reach to consumers.
Your brand needs to be positioned for consumers to embrace brand loyalty. Your brand must communicate a mission with an honest and straightforward message.
There are three levels of brand positioning:
- Product attributes
- Beliefs and values.
Positioning your brand using product attributes is the simplest method; however, it can be risky for two reasons. Basing your competitive advantage on product features can easily be copied by your competitors. Also, consumers do not emotionally attach themselves to product features, and your competitor can easily entice these customers. They tend to be interested in how the product can improve their lives.
A better positioning technique is to associate your brand with desirable benefits. Consumers want to know how a brand can help them. Linking your product's benefits to your brand will give a clear understanding of how your brand will help them in their day-to-day life.
Beliefs and values
However, brand positioning's most robust affiliation is through linking consumer beliefs and values to your brand. If consumers think you care about their well-being and have the same values as them, you will build very strong advocacy.
The Science Behind Branding – What's Next
The inception of the internet in the late 1990s brought giant leaps forward in communication, changing the way we communicate forever. Each subsequent generation has adapted to these forms of communication, and for your business to keep relevant and visible, it needs to keep up.
Where advertising used to be fed to the consumer via fixed streams such as radio or television, today, the consumer has more choice of when and what they view. This new availability of content streams has forced changes in the science behind branding and requires new thinking, skills, and techniques to succeed in marketing while still utilizing core marketing theories.
For your business to survive in today's networked society, you need to attract consumers through strong online branding such as a branded domain name. With a marketplace of over 3 billion globally, this is a marketing opportunity that no business can afford to miss.
To find out how we can help your business reach its potential, contact us today.