April 24, 2023
Branding is a powerful tool, as it moulds a person, or in this case, a customer’s perception, and this perception rules behaviour.
First impressions are lasting. For something we cannot touch, it is a powerful occurrence. From there a certain image or idea can be made about a person, and it has the power to influence how that person is perceived from then on, whether it be positively or negatively. The same can be said for businesses. Apple, the company making technology and providing services, exists in our minds as a luxury, without any of its symbols, it represents something high value and precious. The Kardashians also, have this impression on the public, coming to mind, at their very core, being of family and glamour. What we think of ourselves, and what others think of us matters, especially when it comes to companies. Adding control to how the image of us is perceived then makes it business. That is called branding. Branding is a powerful tool, as it moulds a person, or in this case, a customer’s perception, and this perception rules behaviour.
As mentioned earlier, a brand deals with how things are perceived. Essentially, it starts with a concept that a company wants to be known for and communicate. A brand is a message that must be easily understood and recognized by customers so that it is identifiable. This is where logo, design, slogan come in. This part of branding is often mistaken for branding as a whole, but a good way to think about it, is it being a manifestation of the image’s physical body. First there is the idea, then there is the tangible expression of it that consumers can be familiar with, its visual identity. Branding in itself is not marketing. Although like in marketing, branding uses tools to effectively communicate positive things about the product or service, it does not explore why whatever is being sold is better than the competition’s.
With that said, a business without a brand is like an empty shell; there is nothing inside for it to be distinguished from the others. It takes a lot of effort and hard work to build a successful brand, it is not a task that can be easily moved on from, it is something that needs continuous work and will grow overtime. It will be worth it, however. Branding is like a display of potential and with it comes beneficial things like customer trust. With solid branding, advertising will improve as there is a cohesive image and message for effective campaigns.
Developing a business brand may sound like a relatively simple plan, but there are a few challenges that come along with it. Out of the 4 common challenges, the first is seeing the brand as an asset. Finding a way to manage expenses and come up with short-term financial gains tempts organisations to avoid investing in a brand. Rushing to make profit, in the end, makes it harder to sustain it. The second most common challenge is having to internalise the brand. Branding tends to be pushed toward customers and not toward people within the organisation. Not only is it important for customers to believe the messaging, but for the employees to as well, so inspiration can be found more easily, and making work more productive. Brand relevance is also a struggle businesses face. If a brand does make the effort to change with time, it will inevitably lose connection with the target audience. To still be effective, the needs of the customers must be acknowledged, and when facing negativity, continuing to communicate a positive message of the brand.
There are other issues businesses face with branding, from lacking creativity, a brand story, struggling to commit, or simply believing a brand is not needed. But how a business is perceived is just as important as how anyone else is perceived. Presenting things we care for in a true, positive light, reaps authenticity and thus loyalty. Showcasing the truth will attract and keep those who matter, both inside and outside of an organisation.
With everyone so aware of “influence” in marketing, connecting with customers is more important. In fact, it’s essential.
ESG, a socially-conscious practice that helps investors think about what a company’s values lean toward prior to making any kind of choice.