So, what is a brand? It’s one of those terms that’s used a lot, but often without a full understanding of its meaning. A brand is far more than just what your product is called, the design of your logo, how you package your product, the tagline or jingle associated with your company, or what you’re selling. Your brand is far greater than all of these factors combined; it comprises of the overall perceptions and images that distinguish your business, product or service from others that are available on the market, and includes the feelings that customers have when either thinking of, or experiencing what you offer.
Branding cuts across all areas of your business- from color scheme, company logo, and how you engage with customer sales, to the greater image that encompasses what it is that your business is all about, and what it stands for. It is something very similar to culture in a sense. It is the impression that the clients, and potential clients, have when they hear of you; based on what they’ve seen, heard, experienced, and remembered of you. Ultimately, your brand is built by your customers, but guided by you. It is founded on how consumers perceive your offer. Your task in branding is to ensure that the perception that your customers have, is the same as the one you wish to give.
Consistency is the key to developing greater brand awareness and a strong brand identity. Customers should be able to recognise your company from a quick look, and the look and feel of the logo, color scheme, overall design, and your choice of content and images should be easily identifiable, should make them think of you and your business, and direct them to your brand. That’s what brand awareness is really all about, and brand awareness is what follows naturally when you have a strong brand identity that is strategically marketed.When people are aware of your brand, and recognise the look, feel, and essence of it- in a similar way as to that in which they would recognize the cultural aspects of a specific population or group, then you have given power to your brand by creating an identity for it… one which will be identified with as being synonymous with what your business or product intends to mean for consumers. Once this is strengthened, and through effective marketing, customers develop a greater awareness of your brand, and this is of course linked to recognition of your business, and your product. It’s important to understand that from this awareness, and the acceptance of the brand’s identity, will come expectations, and this leads to the additional task of ensuring that these expectations are met; even if based only on the perceptions created by the brand.
Once you have developed brand awareness, it also becomes easier for you to expand the range of your offers under the umbrella of your brand. This is a strategic advantage that is of tremendous value in the marketplace, and should be sufficient reason to encourage you to work on your brand development.
The essence of this article really just serves to highlight that branding is essential when establishing your identity in the marketplace, and being consistent is the key to establishing yourself effectively. Your brand will generally be developed over time through consistent marketing messages and publicity. Customers value consistency more than you may realize; as trusting that they know what they’re getting makes them more comfortable and confident in their purchasing decisions. This also goes a long way towards building strong business-client relationships, which will greatly multiply the effects of your marketing streams. Brands comprise both tangible and intangible aspects, and it’s important that they all tie in harmoniously to establish and communicate what it is that your brand may promise to customers, in a way that that expectations may be both shaped, and met.
(c) 2015, Noleen Mariapppen