In recent years, marketing strategies and tactics have changed significantly due to the emergence of new media and technologies as well as changes in consumers' consciousness, but one term is likely to always hold the first place in every good marketing strategy – your brand.
What is a brand?
Short and simple, a brand is how consumers see you, because it represents your promise that you're going to solve their problems in the best possible way, that you are here for them and that their benefit is of the utmost importance. In the end, you need to create common ground with your consumers – do you have the same moral principles, are you building a better world together, or giving a joint contribution? Why you? Why Coca-Cola and not Pepsi?
A study from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas has shown that respondents actually prefer the flavor of Pepsi or the flavor of a generic cola brand if they do not know what they are drinking, but they all say that they prefer Coca-Cola. The scientists used magnetic resonance to monitor the behavior of brain centers while the respondents were still and then while they were drinking the offered drinks. On the tape, it was evident that the respondents, while not knowing which brand they were consuming, enjoyed the Pepsi flavor more. When the respondents were told that they were drinking Coca-Cola, though this was not true, brain parts of the respondents automatically "replaced" the actual sense with the perceived one and they "forced themselves" to like the taste of the original Coca-Cola better.
In this example, we can see the strength of the brand and what kind of a reaction it can trigger among consumers. Family is at the center of Coca-Cola's story, they created Santa Claus and when we hear the sound of Coca-Cola's commercials and the Christmas truck, this reminds us that the time of family gatherings, gifts and Christmas decorations is slowly approaching. Don't you feel closer to the company when you see a family smiling around the table with food, laughter and the irreplaceable Coca-Cola bottle?
Why is good branding extremely important?
It's very important to take some time to research, define and create a brand to make sure your branding is in line with your products or services and that you're sending a unique message.
Regardless of the importance of a brand’s visual identity and financial resources invested in the promotion, no (re)branding is going to help you if your product or service is not in synergy with what you represent.
For example, at the start of your business you can have the best Facebook campaign, but if you receive negative evaluation due to inadequate services, bad customer service, rude phone calls or something similar, their opinions are likely to affect your business. This negative feedback could also reach out to potential consumers and have a stronger impact than your campaign.
The characteristics of a good brand
A good brand has to clearly communicate your message, guarantee your expertise, create an emotional connection with the client, motivate the client to choose your product or service and ultimately what we all want – to ensure loyalty and partnership in the long run.
What's your brand like?
If you’re not sure if your brand fulfills what it should, or whether you should invest more efforts into branding, here are some questions to help you better assess the current situation:
- Can my target audience connect with my brand, do they understand it and are they familiar with it?
- Does my brand show our competitive advantage and "that certain something" that makes us different from the others?
- Does my brand reflect all of that we've "promised" to the consumers and does it have value for the employees?
- Does my brand reflect all the values I wish to present to my audience?
To summarize, you need a clear message, expertise, emotional connection, call to action and ultimately, as a result of all of that, creation of a loyal consumer. Good branding doesn't only create a better picture of the company, it attracts the audience and brings more profit, but it also affects employees who are your first ambassadors. Don't be just another company among many, be a brand.