Branding is not only for products

Branding is derived from the word, “Brandr” which means to burn. Back in the history, objects were given a special mark through burning a bit of its part to depict the ownership. Over the years, it became a tool reflecting the proud ownership of the products and then now it is used as a factor to boost the sales of the product. However, today it is not limited to products only.
Branding is an open-mouthed arena having multiple opportunities. Here, anything and everything can be turned into a label if pitched well. Be it food, clothes, services or people, real time market has the “brand” for all of it.
The wide world of branding could be easily understood if perceived as psychology rather than an as ideology. It is not a thesis or a theory, it is an invisible attitude that an object or a person or a service possesses. Once the process of ingesting attitude is completed, a brand is obtained, a brand that denotes the perception of the owner and the requirements of the market.

A brand- products, services or people have to be updated time and again to address the shifting trends. Say for example back in the time Jeep Cherokee was in vogue but then today this model is not manufactured anymore; in fact, they have understood the current requirement of the market and devised a new model- Jeep Compass. It is vital to notice that the brand Jeep has kept its ethos stable but has modified the product line.

Similarly in the service palette, in the past the banks or the insurance companies used to use limited tools to sell their services. But today, even they have expanded their service portfolio and they also use innovative methods to barter their services in exchange of your trust.

Lastly, the people- the breathing brands, even they have changed their approach towards branding themselves. Like in the past, artists would be seen doing their work and may be some endorsements, but today, they are involved in social media campaigns, various social events to be seen on a regular basis and in turn fueling their brand value.

Let us now talk about the aspects associated with branding for a service and branding for a person. See services are delivered; they are not created. While you are performing branding for a service, you have to understand that the clients would be buying experiences. So you just can’t throw up USP’s at them, you have to express the benefits of the experience you have to offer. As far as branding for a person is to be conducted, keep in mind that you are promoting a human being or rather a living emotion. So make sure it is likable and relatable, otherwise it won’t be able to get much attention.

At the end of the day, branding should encourage the clients to take that leap of faith.

Advertising V/s publicity

“Within every brand is a product but not every product is a brand”, says David Ogilvy (founder of Ogilvy & Mather). This transition from being a product to a branded product hits a creation when it is being pitched well. This can be done through several tools and because there is versatility here, misunderstanding also finds a room for itself. So allow me to clear one of the most common confusions relating to spoken arena; difference between advertising and publicity.

Advertising

Publicity

Origin: call for attention Origin: from public
You pay to get the space for your product You attract space for your product
Convince customers that the product is the best Spread information about the product
Increase product sales and consumption Build credibility and brand awareness
Is in control of the company Company has a loose control over it
Helps in creating market position Helps in development of alliances
Can be repeated Can’t be repeated

This basic set of difference between the two speaks volumes about their purpose and benefits. However, it is important to note that the end result of the both is same and that is to benefit the business. The common platforms for advertising and publicity are; print media, electronic media and social media. All 3 can be used as per the need and want. Advertisement is comparatively expensive but it is developed by the company, they customize it and display it in a desired format. Publicity on the other hand is cheaper as the company doesn’t have to pay for it directly. You focus or invest in the event or the activity you want to conduct and if it good enough to capture media attention, they will give you space and hence positive publicity would be earned. Negative publicity also has a part to play and it also has a tendency to affect the company or the brand negatively. Having said that I would also like to add that; even advertisements can fall flat if irrelevant or boring formats are adopted. For any to work, it has to connect with the target audience and has to be so powerful and effective that it is able to carve a mark for the product or the brand.

Besides that, advertisement ideas are created and publicity elements are presented. So when advertisement concepts are brought to life, the major focus is kept on the USP of the product. Say for example when we had to develop an ad for Concept1 (a Baroda based gym), we used a loud picture having a strong image and equally impactful content so as to create a strong image of the gym in people’s mind. Talking about the publicity aspect; India Mondo published an article about Concept 1’s architecture and ambiance. It gave a good boost to the gym’s popularity.

All in all, advertising or publicity are two sides of the same coin and work on the same line of agenda.

Effects of Branding

Branding has become a fundamental part of almost every business, irrespective of its size and field. Without branding, not one company can survive under the current pressures of the market. Branding conveys your ideas and views to the world and helps you connect with the potential customers. A strong brand can affect more and more people, and that can convert your efforts into greater success and growth.
Branding as a whole affects the business as well as the consumers and their purchasing behavior. So, let’s find out what effects does branding have on them. Let’s start with the effects on a business.
• A clear branding strategy makes it easy for you to convey the brand message and image to your prospective customers, and create a better perception of your brand in their minds.
• A differentiating and appropriate brand for your business can improve response rates, boost sales, market share and revenue.
• When done right, branding will make your brand more recognizable by making it stand out from its competitors.
• A branding strategy can be called successful if it increases customer’s loyalty towards the product or service.
• A strong and ideally positioned brand can help extend the life of your business by giving it the freedom to venture into other product categories.
• A well-integrated brand image and message on all platforms will help your brand to create synergy, making it easier for people to remember.
• A compelling brand has the capability to lure and retain excellent employees over the years. A brand’s image in the market also affects the motivation and focus of the employees.
These were some points that make it clear why branding is necessary for businesses. Now, let’s see how branding affects the consumer’s purchasing decisions.
• A brand is as good as the customers perceive it to be. The effect of having a clear brand message can help the customers personalize the message and relate closely to the brand. It is this is that creates a brand’s image.
• Branding strategy that creates a strong brand can directly affect a customer’s purchasing decision. Brands that have back stories related to them, build trust among their customers over time and they end up becoming loyal to one brand.
• Advertising, packaging and media presence of a brand contribute to creating brand image and identity. Consumers are more likely to make their purchasing decisions based on the brand image and not based on the product itself.
• Consumers see established and reputable brands in a different light because brands create aspirations in the mind of the buyers. This gives those brands the ability to charge their customers a premium.
• A consumer more often trusts a brand and its products that are trusted by his or her family and friends. So, a strong brand identity can influence customers buying decision due to peer influence.
To maximize the positive effects of branding on your business, it is important to listen to your customers. Incorporating their feedback into your strategy is vital as branding direct affects the business and consumers.

Choose your branding strategies carefully

For every firm in this world, brand recognition is extremely important. For attracting potential customers a well-thought-out and creative brand strategy needs to be implemented by businesses. Today we will discuss certain points that you need to consider while creating such strategies for any brand.

  • The first move should always be; understanding the target audience of your product or service when deciding a proper branding strategy. Every field has its unique set of challenges and that is where research becomes important. Identifying these challenges with respect to your target audience helps you plan your strategy that specifically caters the group of people that can become your future customers.
  • Customers tend to respond to brands which are not solely focused on profit-making, the product should connect to them on an emotional level as well.

002 Macsy

If we talk about Macsy Foods, their mission says, ‘To be a preferred brand with assurance of quality, price and taste when it comes to healthy snacking.’ Macsy’s mission isn’t just selling its products, but it is also to be a brand that can be trusted. This approach appeals to its potential customers, as it shows Macsy’s devotion to providing satisfaction beyond sales.

  • While planning a branding strategy never miss an opportunity to feature the brand’s logo, name, social media channels, websites and phone numbers. Brand positioning should be given importance in all the communication tools of the firm.
  • A vital point to consider is interlinking all of your strategies to maximize your brand’s exposure. For example, your brand’s advertising should be in sync with your social media strategy. This consistency on your branding helps brand recognition, which in turn improves brand loyalty.

Following these steps, we developed a strategy for Lil Crunch Popcorn that was consistent throughout. From their catalogues to their social media posts, all the branding material followed one constant theme.

  • Always choose a clever USP or Unique Selling Proposition for your brand as this helps your brand distinguish itself from others. But never exaggerate your USP just because you think that is what your customers want to hear. Try staying true to your business’s ideology and choose what suits your business.
  • While focusing on potential customers is necessary, internal branding shouldn’t be ignored. The firm’s employees should also feel attached to the brand. Proper internal brand promotion keeps the spirits of employees at their peak,which results in better performance and efficiency.
  • In this world everything is unpredictable, so your branding strategy should also be flexible that can be modified when needed because market conditions never remain consistent. A business should always be open to change to maximize its profits.

Ultimately, effective branding strategies are those which escalate brand exposure and image.Hopefully, these points would have sparked new branding ideas that can help you develop strategies which are better suited to your business.

Difference between Brand and Branding

In this era of cut throat competition where each and every entity is attempting to become or rather convert itself into a brand, it is vital for all of us to know the basic differences between brand and branding. It might sound even new to few that brand and branding are two different things and ideologies. Well, let us have a look at some basic factors differentiating the two.

Brand Branding
It works on “Who” It works on “How”
It is the output It is the effort
It is an emotion It is an experience
It stays stable It is flexible
It is the identity It is the marketing tool
It evolves It is devised

 

The above table speaks about the basic difference between the two. However there are many myths surrounding the two. Say for example, many people think that a logo defines a brand. However, it is not the case. A logo is just the face of a brand. While some think that branding is advertising. Advertising is promoting but branding is a process of creating the brand.

Kotler & Keller defined branding as, ‘It is endowing products and services with the power of a brand.’ It is quite convincing and comprehensive in its own way. It also takes us to, “Product and Services”.  A company may give all it has to convert itself into a brand, but if its products and services are not up to the mark, all the efforts would go in vain. On the other hand there are times when a company offers great quality products or services but it fails to create a mark for itself in the market due to lack of branding and hence, it fails to become a brand.

In simple words, a product is what you sell, a brand is the perceived image of the product you sell, and branding is the strategy to create that image. So if you sell good products and use right branding strategies, a good brand is created.

Another important factor related to the term “Brand” is the market identity. Market identity is basically an image of a company that it is able to create for itself. Now this identity can’t be created over night. Each brand has worked for years to create an individual presence for itself. This is created through ace league products and services that are pitched well in to the market through appropriate branding practices.  Let us take an example of Apple. Apple started off as a small venture in a garage. Through innovative ideas, genuine efforts and impeccable branding, today it is a brand worth of $900 Billion. It is worth noting that in the year 2015, Apple had spent $1.8 billion on branding.

So all in all, it can be said that a brand is a story, a story that stays stable and is converted into a profitable equity through apt narration of the story- done by branding.