1.10A WHAT IS BRANDING?
A brand is:
- A promise and a point of view.
- A set of values that align the brand with its customers.
- An overarching identity.
- A customer feeling or emotion that has the ability to override logic when purchasing.
- A culture that creates loyalty.
- A strategically engineered system of recognition.
- A defining advantage over competitors.
- A “voice” or a specific way a brand communicates to its customers.
Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who the public perceives you to be.
Every brand makes a promise but in a marketplace where consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, it’s having a defining purpose. While it’s important to understand the promise that your business is making, knowing why you wake up every day and go to work carries more weight.
IKEA’s vision isn’t just to sell furniture but to “create a better everyday life”. This approach is appealing to potential customers as it demonstrates their commitment to providing value beyond the point of sale. When defining your business’ purpose, keep this example in mind. While making money is a priority, operating under that notion alone does little to set your brand apart from others in your industry.
A voice is a particular and unique way that a brand communicate to its customers. It’s important to understand this from the get-go. Is your brand’s voice friendly or superior? Relaxed or rigid? Crass or polite? Timid or loud? Tame or silly? Naughty or nice? Straight or cheeky? Charming or witty? As I write this course, I’m communicating to you as if I am talking to a friend. I’m chatty, honest, passionate, caring, straightforward and I love analogies. This is my natural go-to way of communicating and is also the voice for Navig8biz, an essential element in and of this brand.
Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be everything to everyone. Find your niche and stick to it.
Branding is the thing that is planted in a consumer’s mind after hearing about a product or service which ultimately determines whether a customer will remain loyal to a brand. The marketing may convince you to buy a certain brand of vehicle but it’s the branding (feeling!) that will determine whether you continue to purchase that brand for the rest of your life.
The brand is a continuation beyond the point of sale and is built from many things. Product quality, product longevity, compliments from friends, customer service, customer satisfaction, staff knowledge and support are all essential foundations for customer retention.
The best brands not only develop a loyal following, but also turn those customers into advocates. When customers tell their story, show others how their lives have been impacted, teach others how to use a product, or share their positive experiences with friends or online, a culture and a following is born.
A brand is not:
- A mission statement.
- A logo.
- A product.
- An advertisement.
A brand image is only part of your brand’s identity. Don’t confuse the two.
1.10B ESTABLISHING YOUR BRAND
Now you can see why we like Jack! You can use Jack’s qualities as a benchmark for your brand. Jack has to be likeable enough to instigate and build the friendship, but he also needs to maintain his dignity and reputation to sustain the relationship. If Jack decides it’s ok to sleep with your spouse, you might not like Jack anymore. Unless, of course, that’s your thing. In which case, Jack’s values align with your values and he is remaining true to his brand!
Your brand’s identity should be based on who your targeted customers want and need you to be. Your logo, website, packaging, shop fittings, digital platforms and promotional materials should all be synchronised and communicate the same message and feeling.
1.10C CREATE A BRAND BOOK
- Branding is strategic. Marketing is tactical.
- Branding creates loyal customers and advocates.
- The look and feel is the absolute essence of your brand.
- If your brand was a person, what kind of friend would they be?
- Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages.
- Dig a little deeper to uncover the essence of your brand.
- Build a Brand Book that includes your brand’s definition, mission, visuals, mood, voice, and a customer profile.
- Enlist help from an expert.