Nike. Apple. Facebook.
Are those just companies?
While we all know Nike, Apple, and Facebook because of the products they sell and the services they provide, it’s clear that there’s way more to these three organizations than what they provide to the public. Each has its own culture, its own way of thinking, its own image. And it’s that image that has transcended pop culture and turned a shoe company, a technology company, and a social media company into worldwide phenomenons.
Branding is hardly a new concept in today’s world, but it’s only when you look at companies that have utilized branding to its maximum potential that you can see its true value. When executed correctly, branding is more than a catchy hashtag and a clever slogan — it’s an entire world of its own. It’s something gripping and captivating, and it’s what drives consumers to invest themselves more deeply in a company — in turn transforming those customers into loyal brand advocates.
Of course, building a strong brand is much easier said than done. Here are five reasons why building a brand is so important — and how you can go about building a brand the right way.
1 - Get to Know Your Company
Many companies have attempted to base their branding not on what makes them unique, but instead on what they believe people want to hear. This straying from the company’s roots cannot end in anything other than a disaster. People can tell when businesses are insincere. And there’s nothing worse than a desperate organization trying to rebrand in a vain effort to appeal to an entirely new demographic.
The great thing about true branding is that it gives a company the chance to get to know itself. Branding doesn’t just happen. It’s a process that requires introspection and a deep analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the business. It’s not always a comfortable journey, but it’s one that always results in businesses that are confident in who they are, what they believe in and what makes them different from the competition. Those three factors are the building blocks of branding, and understanding these factors have applications that go far beyond advertising.
2 - Show the World Who You Are
Knowing what you’re all about is a major step forward, both in branding and in marketing in general. But building a strong brand is all about having the ability to communicate that mentality to a larger audience. And this is a major reason why companies that try to fake it end up looking foolish. If you don’t know who you are, what you’re trying to say and who you’re trying to say it to, you can’t possibly succeed.
Branding starts with understanding your business, and that understanding should flow nicely into your overall brand message. Again, it’s about more than colors and logos. A brand conveys a certain message, and that message should exactly match the unique factors about your company — those things that your competition simply can’t offer.
3 - Support the Causes You Believe In
An increasingly popular aspect of branding is incorporating charitable endeavors into an overall brand strategy. It’s relatively common for challenger brands to donate products every time they make a sale. It’s a good look, for sure, but for these companies, giving goes way beyond PR.
The real reason why businesses donate is because it helps them to show off a particular side of their brand’s personality. It’s one thing to tell the world you want to sell the world’s most comfortable sock. It’s something entirely different to sell the world’s most comfortable sock and donate a pair of socks every time you sell one and provide a wealth of resources on your company’s website dedicated to encouraging your customers to pitch in as well. That’s exactly what Bombas has done. And that’s why many consumers will gladly pay a premium price for Bombas socks instead of supporting a no-name brand.
4 - Become Resistant to Trends
In today’s ever-changing marketplace, it’s not hard to find businesses that are so desperate to attract customer attention that they change their entire brand on a frequent basis. This is an offshoot of the aforementioned dilemma of businesses seeking customer approval instead of following their hearts. In this case, the brand changes so much that the brand ceases to exist. As long as they’re playing catch-up to popular tastes, the brand can never truly gain its footing.
Developing your own strong brand makes you immune to most societal trends. Instead of reinventing the wheel every year, you can focus simply on reacting to the changes that will bolster your brand. BMW might add modern features to their cars, but at the end of the day, their brand still preaches the same prestige and class that they’ve always been about. Building a brand of your own, and nurturing it the right way, ensures that your brand will also withstand the trends that come and go.
5 - Encourage Long-Term Customer Loyalty
It’s not hard to figure consumers out. While they may come in all shapes and sizes, and they may desire different things from time to time, they basically all want the same thing — to feel important to the brands they support, and to continually derive value from those brands.
A brand that’s reliable, comfortable and in tune with what makes it unique will check off all the right boxes every time. If consumers feel that they can rely on your business because of the brand image your company conveys, it goes a long way towards encouraging them to stay loyal over the long haul. On the other hand, a business that can’t figure out its own identity will have a long time maintaining any sense of loyalty. Which side would you rather be on?
Author and Friend- John Gumas - A veteran of the advertising and interactive marketing industry, John founded GUMAS in 1984. Today, the award-winning firm is consistently named as one of the top branding and interactive marketing firms by the S.F. Business Times.John is recognized as one of the country’s foremost authorities on Challenger Brand Marketing®. He is the author of the popular book “Marketing Smart” which describes how challenger brands can develop marketing strategies to effectively take on their larger competitors. In addition, John is an adjunct professor of branding, advertising and interactive marketing, a sought after speaker and a regular columnist for several publications and blogs. https://gumas.com/
Branding is more than a marketing buzzword. It’s an endless exercise in self-discovery and in ensuring that a company’s internal makeup matches its external image. If you’d like a little assistance in finding what makes your business unique and how you can communicate that sentiment to your audience, contact us today.