We all know of it, but do we know what it really is. Take a closer look at the incredibly complex world of branding
We love Brands. We care for them, and we adore them. We love to talk about them and flaunt them. Let’s face it, we’re drawn to brands, we’re connected to them, and we cherish them to the extent that we obsess over them and fuss about them. Though if you ask any average individual walking down the street about what a brand is, they will not be able to define it. In response, they will make a feeble attempt to describe it best as, “Brands. They’re just expensive stuff that makes you look cool and fancy. The nice stuff that makes you look great and represents your status.”
Everyone loves brands that appeal, attracts, and stays in the minds of people. But most people find it difficult to explain what a brand is and for many, it’s just a company that has got a name and fame. They simply see a brand as the brand shows itself to be!
Why do we even choose a brand and what makes us trust it? Why do companies spend so much money to make it big? What really is a Brand and how does it get to the point of defining a company from just being a name, to a name that evokes awe?
A BRAND IS A FEELING
As stated by Jose Caballer, CEO, The Systm, a brand is certainly not a logo, a color, an image, or a tagline of a product. It goes way beyond that. A brand is connected to the emotions of goodness and trust in a product, service, or organization when customers interact with it.
Every product or service you interact with generates a feeling, where some make you feel uplifted, some make you feel let down, and some leave you feeling neutral. And that feeling stays on for a long time. It is only when the customer feels the connection with the product or service, the intention behind the venture is successful. We feel connected to brands because they speak our language, what we are inside, the brands represent us on the outside.
For example, when you purchase a Louis Vuitton Bag, you feel good, luxurious, and classy. Because the brand ‘Louis Vuitton’ is a style statement. The biggest reason behind branding is to connect with people on personal touchpoints. It’s a promise a company makes to fulfill the needs and desires of its customers. Walter Landor rightly said, “Products are made in a factory, but brands are created in the mind.”
BRANDING – THE MAKING OF A BRAND
Not many are concerned or aware of what goes into the making of a brand. Branding, or ‘making of a brand’ is a well-thought strategy that makes one company stand out and differentiate itself from its competitors. If your goal is to sell ideas (product or service) in the modern world, then creating a brand out of your idea is the first step towards making it a grand success. The maxim ‘Brand is everything, and everything is a brand’ where some ideas are bigger than others, and some flourish to the extent that their popularity constructs the matter in which we see everything around them.
Branding reinforces and creates the sense of feeling a product or a company promises to encompass and brings it to pass. It is the ability to translate a person’s vision, words, emotions, and thoughts into reality. It could be through a logo, a website, an image, or texts. According to Ashley Friedlein, “Brand is the total of how someone perceives a particular organization, and Branding is about shaping that perception.” Each part of the business has an opportunity to be managed from the intention which the idea stands for.
SPRUCE OR LOSE
Branding is a vital part of the business. Most companies are aware of it and spend lots of money on its maintenance hiring big firms to audit the brand to see if it still speaks the language of the products and service. If they are misaligned anywhere, it is realigned to maintain the authenticity of a brand. This is the sole reason why brand manuals or brand guidelines come into the picture. It’s curated carefully post lots of research, trials, and tests to reflect the brand voice and maintain brand consistency on all forums to keep the brand identity recognizable.
Companies that fail to act upon this end up losing businesses and customers. If a company’s brand does not align with its purpose, it could misrepresent the services or products, which could disappoint customers or even lose them forever. For example, imagine the logo of Nike placed on the cup of a Starbucks coffee; one won’t feel the temptation to taste it. Instead, one will gear up to run. Similarly, imagine the logo of the brand Apple on an android phone; it’s sure to make one feel it’s fake.
Every company grows up with time, and so does its branding changes with the change in perception, purpose, and vision of a company. It could either be a minor adjustment as a brand repositioning or a major overhaul as a complete remake of the company’s identity called re-branding.
This is important as it also shows the evolvement of a company or its product after a specific period. It is not necessary to do a drastic change unless required, as even a few refinements may speak volumes. The core purpose remains the same. As the world continues to evolve, we will have to set a pace and adapt to the ever-changing world. As so many new brands emerge, competitions are on the rise. And to cut through the noise and stay on top, it’s vital to work the best on branding and maintain your brand identity to look and feel distinct from others.
I have seen people who are not happy with their branding but continue to work with the same formula and strategy. At the same time, they ponder why they keep losing customers or unable to make the business grow the way they want it. They see their competitors doing well and tend to change their branding or be intrigued to move by their tune. But random change is not going to bring you success; incorporating the right change is the game-changer.
In my next article, let’s talk about Brand Identity with a brief on how to create and align it to the purpose of your brand and service. Until then, do some audits about where your company stands in terms of being a brand. Good luck!