The word “brand” can be called quite popular. Currently, every company, specialist or even employee entering the market is aware of the need to build their own brand. Interestingly, however, not everyone is aware of what this term means. Therefore, problems with building a brand image and promoting it are common. This is where Brand Marketing deals with. Check out exactly what this means and why it is worth delving into this topic.
What is a brand?
The word brand can be understood in many ways. In the past, they were identified only with the name and logo placed on the company’s products in order to distinguish them from those from other manufacturers. In the late 19th century, trade symbols began to be registered to protect them. It was then that people began to appreciate the strength of a recognizable and trusted brand. Today, this word has a much wider meaning. A modern brand consists of many aspects. It can be assumed that these are all the tools that help shape the character and identity of the company, as well as its reputation. The elements of the brand include both a characteristic logo and a specific color, sound, name, slogan and public relations activities. It must have a strong personality – something that distinguishes it from the competition, and at the same time determines which target group will be interested in it.
The concept of a brand is associated with branding, i.e. a set of tools used to create a distinctive brand. Combined with marketing techniques, this results in brand marketing, i.e. a field dealing with brand promotion.
Brand marketing – what does it mean exactly?
More specifically, brand marketing is all activities that promote a specific product or service in a way that creates a brand image. Its goal is to create a consistent communication with customers that will reflect the identity and values that describe a given brand. It also cares about acquiring new customers, reaching a specific target group. One of the main tasks of brand marketing is to increase brand visibility and recognition, of course, while taking care of a positive and intriguing image. A successful strategy in this direction should make customers want to interact with the products of a given brand. Importantly, brand building is distinguished by long-term, strategic and perspective action. Short-term goals are of little use in this context.
Why is a strong brand so important?
A strong brand gives you an amazing advantage in the business world. It is primarily an indicator of customer trust, experience and other distinguishing features. Thanks to a strong brand, you can not only reach a much larger part of the market, but also increase the value of your products. Customers are able to pay more for trustworthy, reliable or related to a certain status or lifestyle goods. By offering a unique world of experiences impossible to obtain anywhere else, you gain new customers and multiply your profits. You also create a community around the brand, or even the so-called fandom, i.e. a group of loyal customers.
Apple is a perfect example of a very strong brand with a huge crowd of committed and loyal customers. It is a combination of recognizable style, high quality and unique products positioned as those that use breakthrough technological solutions. Combined with the original style of communication and the sense of belonging and lifestyle promise Apple products seem to make, this creates an unparalleled mix. This is why the brand is not only recognizable all over the world, but also enjoys so much adoration among a large part of its recipients. In addition, other brands try to copy various aspects of its business or style. Are Apple products really the best? One could argue here. However, it is not the most important thing for its recipients – what counts is the remaining elements of the brand that encourage the purchase of new gadgets.
Branding – the most important first step
If you are building a new brand, it is worth spending a lot of time on careful branding at the beginning and then developing a long-term brand marketing strategy. These are not very easy, and at the same time time-consuming and costly processes. Their goal is to build a unique image of the company, as well as evoke emotions in consumers that will be clearly associated with it, create a bond and encourage them to get to know the brand better.
At the first stage, it is worth answering a few questions, such as:
– what is the brand identity,
– what makes it stand out, what it expresses itself,
– how it is perceived,
– what is associated with,
– how to communicate, etc.
This is a good starting point to consider defining the brand and the main aspects of the company’s operations, as well as developing a brand strategy – of course in combination with market research, target group analysis, etc. Then, you should formulate a brand mission that will be understandable and unique at the same time.
Of course, as part of branding, you need to develop a brand name, logo and slogan, which will then appear in every message related to it. In addition, you need to decide on the elements that make up the company’s visual identification system – develop a book of signs and sample graphic templates for various promotional materials. It should not be forgotten that all these elements should be consistent and create an unambiguous and characteristic message for a potential customer. Branding, however, is also highlighting the unique and distinguishing features of the brand and confronting them with the needs of the market. Its purpose is to partially “appropriate” the emotions of customers and reach their awareness.
It is worth noting that although branding is identified with new brands, the already existing ones sometimes decide to carry out this process again, refreshing their image or changing the direction of activities. Such a process is called rebranding and may include both a slight change of the logo or the company’s color scheme, as well as the entire philosophy and mission of the brand. Contrary to appearances, this is a very common practice, and even the best decide on it – this is why they stay at the top, because rebranding allows you to adapt to the current market requirements.
How to build an appropriate brand marketing strategy?
It must not be forgotten that all decisions made in connection with branding and brand marketing must fit into the company’s long-term plans. They should be based on:
– brand mission and vision,
– characteristics of the target group,
– willingness to convey emotions,
– consistency in all the company’s moves.
How to create a successful brand marketing strategy step by step?
Every company should know what it wants to be known for and how it is going to stand out. It is this vision that should be matched with the provisions of the marketing strategy, not the other way around. Therefore, first you should specify which field you want to dominate. Perhaps you want to be a leader in the latest technology like Apple, a source of motivation for athletes like Nike, or a leader in meeting all the immediate needs of consumers like Amazon. There are many possibilities. However, you should carefully specify the way you want to be described, recognized and remembered.
Specifying your target group is an extremely important step for any company, regardless of the industry and its scale of operation. Many budding businessmen have a problem with this, claiming that they want to hit “everyone.” It’s a straightforward path to unsuccessful and ineffective marketing efforts. Meanwhile, a strictly defined target group, at the same time divided into the so-called personas, i.e. the main types of customers, will greatly help in adapting brand communication to the needs of potential buyers. Specify the gender and age of your people, define what they are guided by when making purchasing decisions, what values they have and what are their habits in this regard, as well as where they work, who they live with and what they expect from a product like yours. Only by knowing who you are talking to can you do it well. Therefore, the stage of identifying the target group should certainly not be taken lightly.
Every brand has a history. It can be used to build an image and create a bond with the consumer. This story does not have to be dramatic, full of emotions or twists and turns. However, it is worth ensuring that it has several elements characteristic of good film scripts or books – heroes who are easy to like and a certain progression, preferably indicating a problem or difficulty, and then solving it. This will allow customers to get involved in the history of the brand and want to be part of it.
It is also worth taking a few moments to get to know your competition. Only then will you know what you can do better. Remember to then focus on what makes you stand out and include that in your marketing message.
Coherence of actions
Effective brand building is largely based on consistent communication. You have to make sure that the interactions of the brand with customers are always characteristic and recognizable – this is how you build trust and gain consumer loyalty. The point is that the first contact with the message allows you to find out which company you are dealing with, and preferably immediately evoke pleasant associations related to a given brand. Perhaps you know the feeling when driving on the freeway, you suddenly see the characteristic golden arches in the distance and you immediately feel like a fries or a cheeseburger. This is how it should work!
However, you do not have to act with a flourish, like the biggest players on the market. All you have to do is start with consistent online communication. It is worth investing in online marketing because it can offer very good results with little financial outlay. Bet on a carefully maintained website and social media profiles, take care of the continuity and integrity of the message, interact with consumers. Provide them with valuable content, be it in the form of articles, videos, infographics, short information, etc. Use consistent language and visual elements to evoke clear associations about the nature and identity of the brand. At the same time, you will build credibility, authority and trust.
Don’t make false promises
False promises and the discrepancy between the marketing message and the facts are one of the fastest ways to sink a brand. If your emphasis is on the quality of your product, make sure it is flawless. If you create the image of a friendly brand that puts the customer’s good and satisfaction first, take care of their impeccable service both before and after the purchase. It sounds obvious, but some companies still have a huge problem with it. Of course, in order to be successful, it is important to ensure quality in all aspects of your business. However, keeping the promises you make in your marketing communication should be your highest priority.
Do you know Volkswagen? All over the world, her cars are associated with something safe, practical, reliable and trustworthy almost “always”. In 2015, however, it became known that the results of laboratory tests of exhaust emissions of diesel engines used by the brand were falsified. It found that Volkswagen had programmed the engines to reduce emissions only during testing. Within days of the scandal’s outbreak, the value of the company’s shares fell by a third, the CEO resigned and several other high-ranking employees were suspended. The scandal was also publicized in the media, and public confidence in the company has clearly decreased.
Currently, the biggest brands base their image on emotions. If you want yours to be included in this group, you need to make sure that it is desirable and associated with consumers. Creating an emotional bond between a brand and its customers is possible even without the multi-million dollar budgets at the disposal of global concerns. Creativity and grassroots work is what counts.
Effective brand marketing – what to avoid?
There are many pitfalls that you can easily fall into when developing your company’s brand marketing strategy. However, a few errors appear most often. At the same time, they are classified as the most severe. What are these mistakes?
No analysis of competitors’ activities
Imagine that you create a vision of your company and develop a complete marketing strategy. Then you start creating campaigns and promotional materials. However, during the distribution it turns out that your competitors have already done something very similar … A nightmare! Contrary to appearances, this happens quite often, and the only way to avoid this problem is thorough research. Before putting anything on the market, you need to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the past activities of companies operating in the same industry.
The so-called creation should always be consistent with the brand image and its activities so far. Using completely different treatments with each new product may seem interesting and original, but in reality it only introduces chaos and deprives consumers of the opportunity to create deep, lasting associations with your brand. Thus, her strength is weakening! Choose a uniform style for all promotional messages and make sure that they always speak with one voice. The language and tone of speech should also be unique to your brand.
Lack of a long-term vision
As mentioned at the beginning, brand marketing is all about long-term goals. Without the signposts of the brand’s mission and goals, it is very easy to blur the direction in which the strategy is headed. As a result, you create an ineffective, inconsistent message and waste the resources and time used.
Brand marketing – a way to success in business
Nowadays, the concept of brand is of great importance. It is she who sells a certain lifestyle, sets trends and creates a world to which consumers want to belong. If you want to be successful, it is worth putting special emphasis on brand marketing. Regardless of whether you want to conquer the world, the largest concerns, or you want to dominate the local market, it is a strong brand that will help you achieve these goals. The more you put into creating and developing it, the easier it will be for you to achieve new successes.