Branding - why is it so important for every company?
The brand building represents the process of creating all associations and the overall perception of the company by customers. This applies to product representation and overall customer service. Branding should thus flow from the beginning of the consumer cycle to its end and be represented consistently in all parts of integrated communication. Does that sound too complicated? Let's crack it in a few minutes!
Brand building is often neglected by companies. Many companies do not have a defined brand, they cannot briefly and clearly say what they do, for whom they do it and why they do it. In practice, such companies routinely push for price reductions, discounts, and performance channels. In the final, the brands reach their maximum potential and do not continue to grow. To get out of this disease of limited potential, we must first understand why brand building is important.
Why it pays to build a brand:
Differentiation from competitors and brand recall
Try to remember 4 brands of clothes, 4 brands of cars and several brands of beers. How different are these brands from their competition? Most likely, the companies you listed are different from each other and unique in their own way.
The first and most important barrier that every brand must overcome is to get out of the grey mass of most inconspicuous companies, by finding and defining its competitive advantages, or distinctiveness. Distinctive brands are easily recognizable, the customer can find them on the widest shelves full of competitors. Differentiation can be related to colors, logo, visual identity, product form, the sound of a jingle in an advertisement or even the smell of the brand. The best at it are those who have their difference linked to as many senses and expressions as possible.
Great examples of distinctive brands are such brands as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Mastercard and other leading brands across various industries. Coca-cola is open to visual modification and often runs campaigns in which they change the packaging of their cans and bottles. At the beginning of 2021, Coke came up with another bold campaign in which it completely removed logos from its cans. Many predicted a drop in sales due to the absence of the logo. On the contrary, sales grew and customers were still able to distinguish a can of Coca-Cola from the competition, thanks to long-term brand building - the brand uses the same colors, form of products, fonts and other elements.
An extreme example is the visualization of the following brand. Although this creative does not include a logo, most consumers can tell which brand this ad was created for and what that brand has to offer.
Brands that can differentiate themselves are much better remembered in the minds of consumers, arouse interest and attract attention.
1. Strong customer relationship
The long-term and consistent brand building creates a relationship with the customer by reminding consumers of the brand over many years and in different forms of communication. He often refers to the relationship with the customer as loyalty. David Aaker presents customer loyalty as the 7 stages of a consumer's relationship with a brand.
An important part of life: “This brand plays an important role in my life”, “I feel like I'm missing something when I haven't used the brand for a while”;
Personal commitment: "I feel very loyal to this brand", "I will stay with this brand in good times and bad";
Love and passion: “No other brand can completely replace this brand”, “I would be very upset if I could not find this brand”;
Nostalgic connection: “This brand reminds me of things I've done or places I've been”, “This brand always reminds me of a certain phase of my life”;
Understanding: "The brand and my image are similar", "The brand reminds me of who I am";
Intimacy: “I know a lot about this brand”, “I know a lot about the company that produces this brand.”;
Partnership: "I know that this brand values me", "This brand treats me like an important customer".
Through proper positioning and brand strategy, companies approach higher and higher levels of customer relationships and uncover higher and higher levels of loyalty.
2. Lower price elasticity
Thanks to customer loyalty to the brand, the so-called price elasticity also decreases. The increase in price compared to the competition will result in a lower loss of market share than with less well-known brands. In practice, this means that better-known companies can afford to charge higher prices and avoid sales promotions and discounts. According to Harvard Business School professor Jill Avery, stronger brands tend to have less elastic price elasticity.
3. Increase in sales and market share
Most often, consumers make emotional decisions based on brand trust and familiarity. Therefore, when choosing a product or service, the customer most often chooses what he has heard about several times, what he has had personal experience with, and what those around him have had a positive experience with. Brand building, therefore, has a direct influence on the dynamics of the company's market share. A study by Emina Sarigollová from McGill University confirmed a positive correlation between brand awareness and consumer preferences, as well as market share growth. Celebrities, or people that potential customers follow so-called influencers, also greatly help in strengthening the brand. We wrote a separate article about Influencers, which you can find HERE.
People often expect almost immediate results, but building a strong brand doesn't work that way. Brand building takes years. It definitely pays to have an expert on hand to help you with strategies and name-building. But believe that all the effort will pay off in the long run!