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.

Resources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15everywhere.html

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 enquiry@adwright.com 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.

Key Internationalisation Strategies For Business Success

by Adwright, 1 October, 2020

Internationalisation occurs when businesses try to aim beyond their home borders to expand their presence in foreign markets. However, to successfully internationalise to another country, an organisation needs to hone in on going local.

From assimilating with the locals to understanding and communicating their needs and wants, it is paramount to conduct research and gather information on a country before setting base. As such, here are some internationalisation strategies that businesses should first consider when preparing for overseas expansion.

Internationalisation strategies for Businesses

PESTEL analysis

It is imperative that organisations research on the country that they aim to expand to. Each country has its own unique political, social and economic dynamics which would directly impact an organisation’s success. As a result, marketing gurus use the PESTEL analysis to identify and assess the critical external factors that will affect an organisation in going global. The PESTEL factors stand for Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal.

Political factors revolve around government-enacted policies and legislations that affect businesses and their influence on the economic ecosystem of a country. Some of these aspects include government policies, tax policies, trade restrictions, etc.

One example would be Free Trade Agreements that ensure beneficial bilateral and multilateral trade and commerce policies between regions. Free Trade Agreements encompass different elements such as lowered tariff measures, regulations and protections to investment and market access. These policies ultimately help organisations to conduct business in an efficient and fair environment.

Economical aspects include economic growth, exchange rates, inflation, disposable income of consumers and businesses, etc. These can be categorised into macro-economic and micro-economic factors.

Macro-economic factors take on a broader perspective on the overarching influences of demand in an economy. In contrast, micro-economic factors hone in on the way capital or income is being spent and exchanged by the population.

Social focuses on a country’s demographic and psychographic elements. From identifying demographic trends to grasping attitude and lifestyle changes, these elements help marketers identify opportunities by understanding customer’s needs and wants.

Technological centres on a country’s technological advancement and development. It factors in the constant changes and progress led by the technology, automation, digitalisation, research and development landscape that will affect business operations.

Environmental refers to the surrounding ecological and social climate of a country. Through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, organisations can create positive changes to uphold sustainable environmental and social causes.

Legal constitutes the law and legislation of a country. These factors will influence and impact the way an organisation operates. Some factors include labour legislation, consumer law, health and safety regulations, among many others.

Internationalisation Strategies: Localising and bringing your brand to market

PESTEL enables an organisation to identify and penetrate markets in which potential opportunities could be explored. Subsequently, the brand would need to position and localise its products or services to fit a new target audience demographic.

Due to differences between countries, all companies need to understand the cultural nuances and sensitivities of the market that they are entering. Mishandling of cultural nuances can cause significant backlash for a business, and affect its brand reputation and sustainability.

One of the biggest flops was the Italian luxury fashion brand, Dolce & Gabbana’s 2018 advertisement in China. The advertisement, which featured a young Chinese lady trying to eat pizza with chopsticks, was called out by Chinese netizens as being racist and tone-deaf.

Chinese social media platforms subsequently went ablaze, resulting in a ripple effect which led to the boycott of Dolce & Gabbana products and the cancellation of their Shanghai fashion show. By not doing due diligence in understanding China’s robust cultural inkling, Dolce & Gabbana damaged the reputation that they had painstakingly built with Chinese audiences over time. That is the costly mistake of localising a brand haphazardly.

On the other hand, acquiring adequate knowledge on a country’s psychographics and culture could lead to better refined positioning strategies. In doing so, such strategies could positively influence perspectives of the brand among new target audiences.

During the 1970s, Nestle tried to market its instant coffee product in Japan but was met with lukewarm results. After hosting interview and research sessions, French marketing consultant, Clotaire Rapaille, found that the Japanese never had any interest in coffee due to their deep tea cultural roots.

Since there was no coffee consumption culture amongst the Japanese, Nestle had to reposition coffee in a way that integrates into the Japanese way of life. Nestle began creating coffee flavoured candies and desserts to appeal to children’s liking of sweet goodies.

The product repositioning and marketing strategy proved to be a success as kids started to accept the coffee flavour as a familiar taste well into adulthood. Today, according to Statista’s global marketing and consumer research, Japan spends $22 billion on instant coffee products, ranking them one of the largest importers of coffee in the world.

Through localisation, Nestle effectively cultivated a generation and influenced their consumption behaviour towards the acceptance of a product.

What Nestle achieved was a masterclass in localisation. The secret to their success lies in understanding cultural differences and repositioning products to garner consumer acceptance. Thus, it is important that brands understand the psychographics of a country well and use that information as a guide to aid with expansion.

Conclusion

For companies that intend to expand beyond its borders, do not do so in haste. When entering their desired market, it is important for brands to identify the roles they will be fulfilling while upholding its brand values. Brands that communicate with a strong understanding of local nuances and are able to resonate with consumers tend to be effective and prosper.

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 enquiry@adwright.com to find out more about our services.

This article was first published in Entrepreneurs’ Digest issue 93.

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