Every business can make a product or a service. But, it takes a truly exceptional marketing strategy to turn that product or service into a brand.
As Walter Landor puts it, “Products are made in the factory. Brands are created in the mind”. And the customer’s mind is literally a rock-built fortress that you cannot enter easily. But, once you find your way inside, you have won half the battle against the competition.
In the past, in the coming year - 2018 and beyond, branding will hold the key to business success.
Branding has become so vital to businesses, that crafting a marketing strategy even before the final product is ready for commercial production is critical for success. Such is the power of branding!
If your business is yet to build a strong brand of its own, this is the right time to take the next steps. This post is just the starting off point from where you can take off to the branding champions podium.
99% of human beings are visually oriented. We remember more images and visuals than we do text. That is why logos, images, and videos are so critical to positioning a brand.
Look at these brands and their logos:
All these are brand logos which do not necessarily carry the brand names. However, we recognize them easily by their mere sight. They trigger a visual memory in us that is so strong that we don’t have any trouble recognizing them. These visuals go a long way in imprinting a recall value that persuades the customer with a comfort level to buy them when they are in need of the product.
Branding is personal. Although its motive is to make people buy from you, it is an appeal to the individual person. And nothing works better than appealing emotionally.
The advantage of emotional branding is that people connect easily and remain loyal for a longer time than conventional branding methods. Now this is not necessarily easy to do and takes effort and expertise, something a branding company can help with.
Coca-Cola shows the way at how to use emotional branding for business advantage. “Open Happiness” is perhaps the most popular campaign of Coca-Cola that remains fresh in everyone’s mind.
Despite being a carbonated drink, Coke managed to position itself as a messenger of love with its “Share a Coke” campaign.
If you notice, all these branding gently share a call-to-action, either to share or to open or to spread. Under the emotional call is really a message to buy coke. So brilliant of Coke, isn’t it?
Customers pay you once or twice or for a definite number of set times. Fans, however, stay loyal infinitely. Such is the power of fandom. And branding is the right fuel to grow your customers into long-term fans.
In fact, the current wave of marketers believes in customer evangelism more than traditional marketing. According to Statistia, at least 79% of B2B content marketers in North America are focusing on building brand awareness more than pushing sales volumes.
Winning fans more than customers has long-term benefits too, like:
All this put together, we can conclude than turning your customers into fans should be your top priority compared to pushy, short-term sales techniques.
Take, for instance, Amazon. The online commerce giant boasts of a fan base across the world. Amazon’s secure payment process has, in fact, made all online store conscious about website security. They have also set new benchmarks for a transparent business process where customers are always kept in the loop. Securing your customers' data with an SSL certificate is a great option to help convert them into fans. All they need is a brand in which they can trust.
Brand positioning has a heavy bearing on the sales volumes your business can achieve. You can position yourself as a premium brand that charges a premium price for niche products or services, like Louis Vuitton and Apple.
Or, you can position yourself as a value for the brand that delivers good products at affordable products. Eg: Samsung and Honda.
Positioning your brand helps fix the target market towards whom you will be directing your marketing efforts and promotional campaigns. For instance, you can use back to school campaigns for students and year-end sale campaigns for adults. Interchanging these offers will not yield any results. So, positioning your brand towards a specific target market is essential in a marketing strategy.
A brand is not always built from the outside. The branding process often begins from within. The internal culture, the way employees portray the brand and the kind of impact they create in social circles creates a magnetic pull for the brand.
That is why despite pouring millions into branding campaigns, some businesses are unable to create a brand of their own. Sometimes, employees and internal stakeholders are the brand advocates who put businesses in the spotlight. They are the most organic and intimate individuals who know everything about your brand, what you do and how you do it.
Do you know the story of Steve Jobs engraving the name of every employee who worked on the Mac on the bottom plate? It was an act to instill brand ownership and a sense of belonging to the employees. And employees who felt that they belonged to the brand totally went about publicizing it.
Brand building in 2018 and beyond is going to be a remarkable journey. You will have to do more than just trying to get sales leads. The focus will shift towards winning customers as long-term fans who will stay loyal and permanently attached to the brand.
We have listed out some such ways you can make branding work for you in 2018!