On any given day, a large majority of us are using digital platforms to forge stronger bonds with people and businesses we know and trust. As consumers, we’re constantly in search of – not only making smart buying decisions – but also connecting with the items or services that we feel provide benefits and quality to our everyday life. From a consumer perspective, indeed, it is our market. From a business standpoint, however, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the right audience. Two seconds of attention, according to a Nielson study, is what businesses are given to make a lasting impression. What-the-what? That’s why we’re here to discuss a brand and really, why is branding important?
It’s not just a logo or graphical element. While that may have been the case for the largest corporations in the world like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Nike, we’ll be the first to tell you that times have changed, friends. Brands are no longer recognized exclusively by their outward appearance. It’s important to consider the newer characteristics and elements that comprise a brand and how to leverage these components to make an impact.
What is a Brand?
We can answer the question of developing a unique brand identity and brand development strategies to achieve compounding growth, but first, we have to review the definition of a brand. Of course, there are endless summaries on the world wide web that cover what exactly a brand is and what it does. At the risk of being contrary, a brand is a mythical entity, not unlike unicorns or mermaids. It exists only in the sense that we created an entire world where these majestic creations reside.
In general, brands are an expression or an experience. They’re intangible, but still extremely important in the world of
Definition of a Brand
Here at the Brandsmen, we like to simplify branding. Because, really, Webster’s definition won’t really help you to identify how to apply branding to your business, vision, product, services, organization, etc. For the sake of driving this point home, here’s the true definition of a brand directly from Merriam-Webster:
Brand: /brænd/ (noun): a particular identity, image, or reputation regarded as an asset for a particular company.
Let’s take it back to 10th grade English class. If you were like us, a little dazed and confused, you may have missed the lesson on personification. What does it actually mean to give human characteristics to something nonhuman?
The Brandsmen Definition: What is a Brand?
A brand is a way in which an organization brings life and purpose to something that’s otherwise non-living. It means digging into the aspects of a business that reveal character and human qualities to which the large majority of people can relate. These are the mythical subjects or entities that help to forge connections and build stronger relationships.
Brand: /brænd/ (noun): your business… personified.
Exploring your brand means defining how you wish for the organization to be received by the world. It’s more than what you do or sell. It’s about who you are that makes a lasting impression.
Why is Branding Important in the Digital Age?
Picture this, we’re all a little like toddlers, captivated by every passing shiny object. We’re also very easily distracted and influenced by newer or more exciting shiny objects. And when there are shelves and rows and pages of shiny objects to shift through, which do we choose? How is that determined?
The National Centre for Biotechnology Information claimed that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, which is one second below that of a goldfish. This phenomenon was coined the goldfish effect. A newer study from Microsoft Corp actually found that people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the effects of an increasingly digitized lifestyle on the brain.
What does this mean for brands? For one, it means building trust through authenticity and value. It requires creating a brand that seeks to be a problem-solver for large segments of any given audience. This is crucial because, without these factors, companies are easily lost in the noise of the high-speed digital highway.
The main question is: how can a brand help to achieve these characteristics?
Importance of Branding
In a world where almost any piece of information we access is at our fingertips, does it dilute the purpose for content creators and brands? In other words, are most companies or organizations small fish in an even larger ocean?
According to a Nielson survey, about 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them. These statistics, on the surface, sound poetic. Of course, every company would like to build a brand that resonates and entices people to build connections. However, if everyone is seeking to build a better brand, what does that mean for overcoming a competitive edge among brands that have already garnered brand recognition?
Finding ways to stand out is becoming increasingly more difficult. The good news is that with a solid brand-building (tried and true) process, achieving recognition for a brand is doable. First, let’s review why is branding important?
It Promotes Recognition
If familiarity determines loyalty to a brand, then gaining visibility is mission-critical. A strategic branding campaign should aim to help consumers recall a product, specialty, or service. This is usually done through:
- Visual aids or design
- Credibility (think reviews)
- Value giving
There are audio and visual cues that are usually adopted first to help set a brand apart in the marketplace. These sensory-driven campaigns use things like logos, colors, marks, or jingles as their main driving force to promote brand recognition.
Consumers should immediately get a sense of the brand by simply looking or listening to visual aids. Additionally, they should be able to find consistency within your marketing practices whether it’s through content delivery, social media posting, ads, or other avenues of digital media promotion.
Brand recognition can bring confidence to potential customers, while also demonstrating key value propositions.
- Brand recognition is the ability of consumers to recognize an identifying characteristic of one company over another.
- Brand recognition is achieved when consumers are able to recall a firm’s offerings using visual or auditory cues
Branding Helps Provide Clarity and Focus
This point is two-fold. On one hand, it’s obviously highly important that audience members have a clear understanding of what the brand does and how it executes its value within the marketplace. Additionally, branding also gives staff members and loyal fans motivation and direction in helping to promote the brand.
Importance of Clarity and Focus
A brand that lacks clarity, lacks intention.
Business owners, especially in the beginning, tend to find themselves lost in the weeds. According to a study conducted by U.S. Bank, about 42% of failed businesses cite being unable to find customers for their products as the main reason for the closure.
A brand, effectively, needs to solve a problem or fulfill an existing need for consumers in order to compete. What’s more, these solutions should be highlighted and promoted ad nauseum in order for consumers to return. But without clarity or focus on the value proposition, it can easily be buried by other brands.
Branding aligns different visions and solidifies a clear pathway to achieving focus. In order to find brand clarity, it’s necessary to approach your branding strategy from all angles. Consider any of the following:
- Define a brand’s mission, purpose, and value propositions
- Refine the target audience and understand their unique needs
- Build out mood, character, and personality for the brand
- Create structure around processes and systems that highlight purpose and value
The goal is to align the mission with offerings that create and implement a cohesive customer journey.
Enhances a Customers’ Experience
Why is branding important? Simple. It enhances the experience customers have when interacting with an existing product or service.
The beauty of a brand is that it’s not restricted to transactional relationships. In fact, it usually pertains to the experience it delivers to any given audience through various touchpoints in their journey. Customer experience is defined as how customers perceive their interactions with an existing brand. Consider the following:
- Ease of purchase options
- Customer sales experience
- Customer feedback
- Revising systems that are causing sticking points for customers
According to a Gartner statistic, “by 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.” Brand building should absolutely factor in the experience customers will receive when interacting with the strategically positioned products or services.
Brand Aim: Empowering Consumers
While living in a customer-centric world can be challenging, it still offers a clear-cut way to achieving successful branding. It really boils down to empowering any given brands’ consumers. They should feel confident in the way they purchase. Successful brand strategies consider the interactions that lead up to a purchase, and actions that immediately follow a purchase.
By building on authenticity and trust factors, companies and organizations can leverage brands to help take action across value-driven propositions. It can also help to align messaging with intent and purpose.
“Brands are essentially patterns of familiarity, meaning, fondness, and reassurance that exist in the minds of people.” Tom Goodwin
In order to compete in today’s marketplace, branding is essential.
What are the main components of branding to consider?
Some common misconceptions on brand are that they are exclusively driven by these factors:
As more companies catch on to this formulaic approach, marketers are quickly diluting the value of those factors by relying on data-driven results only. However, as digital media transforms how people are making real-time connections, brands should consider more human characteristics and factors outside of data-drive scopes, such as:
Additionally, some marketers suggest that even a touch of magic is required for building a worthwhile brand that resonates with key audience groups.
The Brandsmen: Answering Why Branding Is Crucial
Standing out in a crowded room is difficult for companies, especially for those pivoting or starting up. Many companies make the mistake of going to market without a clear brand vision, defined by unique goals, mission, and authenticity. Neglecting to build a brand may put an organization at risk of losing sight of purpose and value – both of which are key drivers in helping to improve customer experience and giving internal teams direction on marketing and promotions.
The Brandsmen provide clients with effective and proven branding services aimed to transform, not only the look and feel of an entity, but also to establish their position within the market. Through our various services and support, we strategically design brands that are meant to engage with and stay relevant to existing audiences. Our experience highlights the key methodology that proves to garner brand recognition and overall support. Some of our services include:
- Website & Logo Design
- Brand storytelling through content & SEO
- Analyzing competitors
- Establishing clear client or customer personas
- Branding Strategy & Execution
- Reputation Management
- Social Media management
If you want a top-shelf brand with a solid reputation, then taking the time to design a captivating brand is imperative. As consumers become more educated, brands are working around the clock to understand the best methods in engaging with the two to three seconds of attention granted on any given day.
That’s where we come in. We develop brands that are rooted in identity, strategy, and to some degree, a little bit of magic. We have helped numerous brands establish their online presence and execute proven strategies designed to drive ROI. At the Brandsmen, we do the hard work that’s necessary to ensure continued success for years to come.
If you’re looking for branding services for your product, services, business, or organization, contact a Brandsmen today.