So, you have a business of your own? And you are confused about where to start your branding activities?
Well, before you get into the branding activities, it’s very important to understand what exactly is branding. There are lot many people among us who do not understand the concept of branding in the right way and miss the opportunities.
The business dictionary may give you the definition of ‘branding as the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.’
But it’s more than that. Your branding activities do not end by choosing the colour, logo and designs for marketing collaterals. Also, it’s more than setting up and managing social media accounts.
However, all these factors form part of your branding although it does not include everything. To understand branding in its complete essence, let’s consider the factors that differ from marketing and branding.
Difference Between Marketing and Branding
As this blog puts it right, ‘Marketing is the set of processes and tools promoting your business. This includes SEO, social media, PPC, local search, mobile, and traditional promotional methods and tools. Branding, on the other hand, is the culture itself, the message that permeates and rules all the process of your business.’
To define it in a push and pull technique, marketing is the push tactic used to actively promote a product of service. And it’s not branding. However, branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is a communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.
To put it in a playful way, branding always says ‘This is what I am’ about your product and service. On the other hand, marketing would say ‘buy me’ explicitly.
Marketing is moreover a tactical effort whereas branding requires strategic effort. In fact, marketing is a way to communicate your brand message and brand personality.
Branding goes deeper than marketing. As James Heaton, a marketing expert puts it in his blog, ‘marketing unearths and activates buyers. Branding makes loyal customers, advocates, even evangelists, out of those who buy.’
Your Customers Define Your Brand
There is a common misconception that you define your brand authority. Do you think so? Better not. The fact you have created the brand does not really give you the ultimate authority of it.
It’s your customers who define your brand. People just don’t buy products. They get accustomed to the brand that is trusted and transparent and fulfils their expectation. They choose you after evaluating your brand value. That explains why you need to keep an eye on your customer’s expectation.
As a brand marketer, you should know what your customer thinks, what, how, and when they want it. You need to listen to your customer closely and that’s the only way to stand out in this crowded and competitive marketplace.
No One-Size Fits All
Here’s another major point to note. There is no one-size-fits-all rule applicable to branding your product. Even your competitor’s branding lessons will not help you.
Each company is unique in its own way and so are the brands. There’ll be an element of uniqueness that needs to be figured out to stand out in the market.
Like the kissmetrics blog points out, ‘the truth is that there is no formula – branding is and will always be a customized experience. The good news is you can measure the success of your brand easily. What you should look at in this case is the behaviour and the interests of your target audience.’
How to Brand it the Right Way?
Building a brand is no walk in the park. It requires a lot of effort and attention from your end. Here go three tips to note.
The purpose behind: ‘Fundamentally, you need to answer the question of the purpose behind your business- ‘the very core behind your business.’ You should have higher clarity about why you build the business and who your target audiences are.
The brand personality: To bring in more shape to your brand, here’s the next question- ‘what is your brand?’ Think about how you want your brand to be accepted and understood. Determine the personality and voice of your brand.
Communicate well: Once you have value and personality of your brand, you should decide how to create awareness about the brand. Your market research and analysis will help you in choosing the right methods.
To conclude, branding is never a one-time activity. It requires continuous attention as it’s an on-going activity. Your customers will turn to be your brand ambassadors if you are branding the product the right way!