Drive Growth Through Branding
by Adwright, 26 November, 2020
Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of any business. In these trying times, it is especially necessary for a business to have a strong brand foundation and to develop it over time. It does not matter if the company is large, small, online, offline, business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), a good brand strategy gives a business an edge in differentiating itself amongst competitors in the market.
What is branding?
Branding consists of the promise that a business makes to its consumers. It serves as an indication of what consumers can expect from its products and services and how its offerings are different from other competitors.
The visual aspects of a brand such as its logo, brand name, tagline, typography, packaging, website, visual art and promotional collaterals help to communicate the message of the brand.
Many might think that these physical visual aspects are everything about a brand. However, that is not the case. Branding also includes the feelings that consumers develop towards its products and the company.
Branding is the combination of physical features and emotional values that help to give meaning to what a business does, how it goes about doing it and why it matters. Branding is a process, and it takes a concerted effort of strategy, grit and time to shape a brand in the minds of consumers.
What is a brand strategy?
A brand strategy is a long-term plan that sets out how, what, where, when and to whom a business wants to communicate and deliver its brand message to. At the same time, the distribution of the message has to be done in a frequent and cohesive way.
Businesses with good branding strategies are able to command substantial brand equity within the market. Often, this translates into added value for the company’s products or services. These added values are usually in the form of perceived functional values and emotional values, allowing a brand to command more attention as compared to its unbranded counterparts.
For instance, Nike associates its products with star athletes, appealing to consumers who aspire to be like them. In its sponsoring of Colin Kaepernick, Nike also stands for something more – racial justice – which draws more people who resonate with this cause to like and support Nike.
How to develop a brand strategy?
Define the brand
Defining a brand involves a journey to uncover the core values of a business. It leads brand owners or brand custodians to answer fundamental questions such as:
- What is the purpose of the brand?
- What problems are the brand solving?
- Why should the brand exist in the community?
Through understanding the business and what it means, a brand is more likely to establish its own set of narratives that lends credence to its purpose and subsequently, forms an authentic brand story.
Define the target audience
For a brand to have a unique positioning within the market, brand owners would need to first define their consumer base. Businesses should carry out a profiling of its audience to detail the archetype of its desired consumers. However, create no more than three personas; otherwise, a brand would start communicating with everyone but to no one.
Persona profiling will include demographic information, behaviour patterns, intentions, interests, pain points and goals. The more a company understands their consumers, the easier it is to partake in conversations to engage the interest of consumers or address their pain points.
Define the channels
Yankelovich, a market research firm, estimates that a person would see up to 5,000 or more advertisements a day. It is an uphill task to get the attention of consumers. Oatly, a plant-based milk drink established since the early 1990s recently became one of the trendiest companies.
The brand engaged with its millennial consumers through tongue-in-cheek captions and vibrant images on Instagram, hosted music festivals and collaborated with trendy bubble tea chains. It even started a post-milk generation movement to capture audiences that resonate with its purpose – “to turn what they eat and drink into personal moments of healthy joy without recklessly taxing the planet’s resources in the process”.
Thus, brands must figure out the personas of its consumer base in order to create an experiential journey that would pique their interest. This could be achieved through micro-moments on various channels, with content that inspires consumers.
Align business functions
Through constant brand social listening and interacting with consumers, companies would be able to capture valuable feedback to innovate. It also enables a company to align strategically so that new products and services can go to market faster and more effectively.
All in all, companies looking to bring business to the next level through branding must view the cost as a capital expense rather than a short-term cost. There are many facets to look into when it comes to branding, but all marketers and brand owners must remember that brand building takes time.
Les Binet’s and Peter Field’s book, The Long And Short of It, describes how branding yields broader effects. Therefore, companies should look at the long-term success that branding could bring, especially when brand engagement is coupled with tactical sales promotions to drive growth.
Adwright has more than 20 years of experience in helping businesses establish their brand’s narrative and curate their brand identity. If you are looking to begin building your brand or giving your current brand a refresh, Adwright can help. Call us today at +65 6227 7227 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our services.
This article originally appeared in the Entrepreneur’s Digest print edition #94 and has been edited for clarity, brevity and for the relevance of this website.