What is a brand – and why is it important?
You have a business and it’s doing OK – so is it worth the effort to promote your brand? Or you have an established brand, but it takes time to keep the momentum going – is it worth it?
If you don’t answer ‘yes’ to either of these questions, then read on.
What a brand is
According to Investopedia, a brand is “…an identifying symbol, mark, logo, name, word, and/or sentence that companies use to distinguish their product from others. A combination of one or more of those elements can be utilized to create a brand identity. Legal protection given to a brand name is called a trademark.”
A brand can have immense value – a successful brand can often trade on the basis of just its name (think Coca-Cola) and sometimes a brand even enters the language – how many people now ‘Hoover’ their carpet when using a vacuum cleaner?
And once a brand is established, it needs protecting. Externally, by trademark and internally by upholding a standard or set of values within the company.
A brand is an expectation of experience or quality that a customer has that they associate with your company and one that they expect as a result of doing business with you.
A brand is your promise to consumers of a standard and a responsibility for you to maintain it.
What a brand is not
A brand is not just a logo – it is everything that the logo represents.
How to develop or create a brand
To create a brand, you must first think about your brand identity. That is, you must decide how you wish your business to be perceived by the public.
This may or may not be incorporated into your logo or company slogan; if you have an established business, then creating or developing your brand may involve a complete restart, with a huge publicity push to announce to the market that from this point, this is now who your company is and what it stands for.
Alternatively, it may involve softer, more subtle changes to an already established business (think more along the lines of a refresh than a complete change of direction).
If you’re already an established business and unsure where this leaves you, have a read of the article ‘should my business refresh or rebrand?’ which includes a helpful checklist.
Either way, your aim is to produce an image and overall impression of your company that is memorable and that is attractive to your customers.
This will often start with a discussion of what your company values actually are (have they even been set down on paper?) and what the aim of the business is. This latter point is often glibly answered with ‘make a profit’. Sure – but what else? At any cost, or do you care about reputation, or the local community, for example?
You may recognise this by its other name: your company mission statement.
So to create or develop your brand, your may view it in these terms:
Creating your brand image means finding the perfect way to communicate your company mission statement to the market, that is simple, understandable and memorable
Why branding is important to your success
Branding is a part of your business growth
Once your reputation and values are linked to your brand in the eye of the public, then your will gain new business directly as a result of people seeing your brand (assuming your reputation and values are perceived as positive, that is).
It is often said that the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth. This is some truth to this – and branding works because is a powerful form of word-of-mouth advertising.
People talk about brands – how many conversations have you had or overheard where the topic of conversation was ‘who makes the best coffee?’ Chances are that the two contenders were Starbucks and Costa (even though there are hundreds of small coffee shops which make coffee way better than those two establishments).
The point is – even if you have tried neither of them, the chances are high that you already have an opinion of Starbucks and Costa Coffee. That is the power of branding.
– And that’s before we even get started on Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi.
The more established your brand becomes, the more new business it will generate.
Branding is a part of maintaining your existing business
Branding also encourages customer loyalty from your existing customer base.
You will have also heard many comments such as “I always buy ‘x’ brand”. Not only is this statement free word-of-mouth advertising, it also reinforces the loyalty to the brand in the mind of the person saying it.
Customers condition themselves continuously to buy from you again, every time they make a comment such as the one above – and they don’t even realise that they are doing it to themselves!
An important part of branding psychology that is often overlooked is that it unites customers. People love being part of a group, and loyalty to a brand does just that. It gives connection to your brand customers.
This is why we have witnessed a huge recent surge in brand apps on mobile devices that not only act as a sales platform, but also serve as a meeting point for loyal customers, with members’ areas, exclusive content, news updates, special offers etc.
All these are designed to increase brand loyalty and to make the customer feel part of a special group alongside like-minded shoppers.
Brands do this for one reason only – it works. And it drives business.
Splento has brought together some great examples of brand-refreshes to give you some inspiration for your own.
Alternatively, contact Splento today and find out how to take your own first steps to refresh.
Your customers and their needs are always changing, but we have seen this happen faster in 2020 than at any previous time.
Splento has produced a free report on brand engagement, explaining what you can do to re-engage your customers in this post-pandemic world.
It’s completely free and is downloadable by clicking below:
Contact Splento if you are in need of: