My point of view on brand
For many years I have been delivering marketing propositions to organisations. In this time, I have come to a realisation on brand. For most people, the concept of brand, branding, brand essence etc. can all mean the same or something similar.
So, what actually makes a brand? Why is it so important to have one, and more specifically, how do we harness its power to help drive business challenges?
A lot of confusion exists around ‘branding’. Depending on who you ask, brand can be described with wildly different definitions. A problem emerges from this: if you can’t define your brand, how can you expect to leverage it and apply it to your business?
Decades ago, branding could be defined by a name, slogan, sign, symbol or design or a combination of these. Together, these elements would identify the products or services of a company. The brand was simply identified around these elements that simply differentiated the goods and/or services from their competition. As the years have moved forward, the concept of ‘brand’ has started to become more abstract. The construct for branding has become more deeply aligned and connected to the company and its business, consequently affecting their products, services and culture.
‘A brand is what a brand DOES’
This is a powerful statement that says a lot about brand execution. Your brand needs to consistently demonstrate and carry the attributes that make your company, business or proposition unique. In a sense, it is your guiding light and the promise you make to your customer. Don’t forget, your brand is at the centre of this.
The seeming simplicity of what a brand is what makes it hard to define for business, or more importantly, what it actually DOES for the business. It may be simply defined by the business values summarised into a brand promise. But, when correctly identified and implemented, it encompasses all the beliefs and values of the business and its individuality in the market.
If you wanted to buy running shoes, you’d have to decide on where you’re buying them from. Nike, Reebok and New Balance are all businesses that are the first you may think of. It may be because they have large advertising campaigns or how their values might line up with yours. But both of these things started from the their branding. So you’d buy a pair of running shoes and consequently are buying into all these things that comprise of the brand. These businesses have identified their brand and have ingrained it within their operation, creating effective marketing.
The importance of recognising this as what your brand does will alleviate marketing roadblocks.
Your business identity
Once you’ve defined the brand for your business, everything will be funnelled through it. It becomes embedded into every part of the business and is what the customers see and what resonates with them.
Looking at one of the most successful businesses, Apple, they have not ever disclosed what their brand values are but they are very apparent through their work. It is driven by innovation and appealing design. As a result, every product or service Apple releases adheres to this brand. The physical design of their products is aesthetically pleasing. Sleek, smooth and not overcomplicated. Similarly, the same words can be used to describe the way these products function and their stores. The Apple brand is the thread that is woven into their business and it is reflected everywhere. It has become their identity and has driven its success and this is what brand DOES.
Any business should know who they are, what they offer to the market and what makes their business unique. Building brand is integral to this as it helps both the business and the customer understand what the business is about. If the brand of the business stays consistent across a customer’s entire experience, then they should be satisfied and will be more likely to return to your business.
If you are struggling to identify your brand, get in contact with VOLOM. We will work with you with development right down to the implementation.
Ian is a very creative marketer with experience in delivering outstanding marketing programmes that have driven successful business outcomes. He has had experience in the development of some top services brands both direct to consumer and Business-to-Business as well as FMCG categories, building industry and insurance (Life and Health). Ian’s marketing & leadership skills were recognised in 2012 when he won the Marketer of the Year Award. Make use of our free audit to get the insight you need to grow your business (use password: Ian).
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