What is branding and why is it important?
What is branding and why is it key in our brand management
Let’s do an experiment together: Think about the last three products you’ve bought and tell me, do you have a solid and really well-founded opinion of why you chose them? If, like me, you don’t have it, it’s because you too have been influenced by branding or brand management.
Don’t worry, we won’t be the first or the last “victims” of branding. Human beings like to think that all our purchasing decisions are rational and that we always choose based on the price-quality ratio; but in reality we are strongly influenced by our emotions and preconceptions.
In fact, as paradoxical as it may seem, this has a perfectly logical explanation: rationally analyzing each decision would require a lot of energy and time; and the truth is that the vast majority of purchasing decisions we make on a daily basis are not that important.
Consequently, because of branding, you, me, and millions of other people end up believing that Starbucks is a friendly place, Ford is trustworthy, Converse will make us look young, and Coca-Cola is great for family gatherings.
So if you have a company or are planning to launch a product or service, take three minutes to learn what branding is, why it is essential, and how it can help you succeed.
What is branding
First of all, let’s define what a brand is: In a few words, we could say that it is an identity or personality created to connect with an audience.
An important clarification: In general, the brand concept is associated with a company, but any type of “institution” can (and should) have a brand, for example, a sports club, a school, a state ministry, a tourist destination and even a person.
So what is branding? In marketing, branding (or brand management) brings together a series of deliberate actions aimed at designing, maintaining and communicating that identity or brand.
Of course, the ultimate goal of branding is for potential and current customers to have a positive perception of the brand. That way, they will be more inclined to contact you and, if all goes well, purchase your products or services.
Why is branding important?
Brand management has always been crucial, but today it is more than ever. The Internet and social networks have made the world much smaller than before. Consumers have access to hundreds of brands and that’s great…for them.
On the other hand, for brands it can be something good or bad. Yes, being able to reach hundreds of potential customers is a positive thing, but the competition is also increasing.
For that reason, companies have to do their best to stand out from the rest, and that means, in part, having a strong brand that people easily recognize. Doing this is not easy at all, as we will see later.
What types of branding exist
As we said before, brand management is not only associated with the business world. While their principles are essentially the same, there are different types of branding. These are some:
- Corporate branding:It is branding strictly focused on companies and involves defining elements such as values, mission, ideal consumer, price scale, etc.
- Branding personal: In the world of work, professionals offer their services to a market that buys it. And, in this context, personal branding focuses on the image that this professional communicates to potential employers.
- Branding offline: As its name suggests, it is about branding done in the offline world. It includes notices on public roads, the organization of events, merchandising, the aesthetics of commercial premises, etc. If possible, it is always recommended to combine offline and online branding.
5 benefits of branding
Branding is a central part of any marketing strategy. It is, in short, that effort that makes a company unique and different from the rest. But not only that. These are the 7 main benefits of branding.
1. Increase recognition
Brands are only known when they achieve a certain consistency. If you present yourself one day one way and another the next, your target audience will never know who you really are.
On the other hand, if a company always uses the same logo and color palette, addresses its public in the same way and works with the same concepts, there will come a time when it manages to resonate in the mind of the consumer and stay there to appear right in when you make a purchase decision.
2. It serves to stand out
If you have a business, surely you know what distinguishes it from the rest. However, you can’t expect everyone to know about it too, let alone share your opinion.
Definitely, brand management is a key element when it comes to standing out from the competition, despite offering products with similar characteristics.
3. Build customer loyalty
Getting new customers is important, but more important (and profitable) is keeping the ones you already have. Through a continuous branding process, it is possible to build relationships with those people who already know your product or service, and encourage them to continue choosing you.
4. Help launch new products and services
In most areas, a company that does not innovate is a company that is one step away from failure. One advantage of having a strong and trusted brand is that it already has a foundation of trust and loyalty, which makes customers more open to trying new products and services.
5. Attract talent and boost employee morale
When a company is recognizable and knows what it is doing, more and better professionals are more likely to want to work for it. At the same time, those employees who already work in the company will feel more motivated knowing that they work for a prestigious and valued brand in the market.
Key elements for a brand management process
Brand management involves designing a logo, but it is much more than that. It’s a super complex subject, as complex as the budget of the marketing team allows.
However, a brand can be broken down into fundamental elements; blocks that, as a whole, make up the whole. Let’s review some of the most important ones.
Logo and color palette
According to the dictionary, the logo or logotype “is a symbol made up of images or letters that serves to identify a company, brand, institution or society and the things that are related to them”.
Without a doubt, saying it is much easier than doing it. The logo must be easy to recognize, pleasant to look at and represent the personality of the company.
The color palette, for its part, offers consistency to the user experience and also reflects the brand’s personality. Colors and psychology have a powerful relationship, a topic that exceeds this article and we encourage you to investigate on your own.
Position refers to the place that a brand occupies. In other words, the niche to which it is directed and which determines its role within the market and in relation to other brands.
Positioning implies being clear about the characteristics of what is offered and, in this sense, you have to be sincere. Not necessarily a product or service should stand out for being the best; it can also have the lowest price, be available everywhere, be the easiest to buy/use, etc.
Imagine that your company were a person, how would you describe it? The brand personality implies defining if it is associated with youth, if it uses a sense of humor, if it tries to have a close relationship with consumers, among other issues.
Expectations (brand gap)
To some extent, success in business depends on the final balance (or gap) between expectations and reality.
Think of it this way: If you buy a product about which you don’t have high expectations, you will surely feel satisfied even if it is a poor quality product. After all, it was what you expected.
The problems begin when expectations do not match reality. For this reason, making it clear to potential customers, employees, and partners what they can expect from your brand is critical to building medium- and long-term relationships.
Every day we come into contact with dozens of brands. Which ones stand out? Those that have a defined identity and offer a consistent experience.
How do they do that? Through branding or brand management, that is, deliberate actions that have the objective of creating, sustaining over time and communicating the identity and personality of a company, what makes it unique compared to the competition.
Brand management involves different elements, some visual and tangible (such as the logo and the color palette) and others more abstract such as the personality of a brand. To be successful, all of these elements must be in sync and work as a team.