We’re all familiar with brands like Coca Cola, Walmart, or Nike and recognize them just by looking at one picture. But what factors contribute to that, and how long it took for the brands to become that popular? It’s all due to the development of the brands’ identity. Companies use it to explain their mission and bring a positive experience to customers. And the those we mentioned appear to be the big-time brands.
In this guide, we’re covering the importance of branding, giving some tips on how to brand your product, and showing a few successful real-life cases.
What’s Branding in Business?
First, mind that branding is not a logo, name or trademark. And it doesn’t exist only within the marketing department. These are just the components of a brand development strategy, not the only things that affect it.
So, what is branding? It’s focused on creating awareness of a company, its product or services. Branding contributes to creating the image of the brand in customers’ heads. And that image depends on the impression customers get when interacting with your business.
Branding is based on the number of factors like interaction with your products, company or you personally. The last point is actually why more and more business owners start blogs and are willing to give interviews. They’re developing personal brands and getting closer to the target audience at the same time.
So each interaction with your brand tells customers more about your company. And if they’re sure that your products or services are advanced and innovative, those traits become a part of your brand for them.
Why Is Branding Important?
As the fight for customers is getting more intense, it’s hard to underestimate the importance of a robust brand. That’s why you should pay attention to a brand-building strategy as this exact process leads to a better understanding of business objectives.
Well-thought-out brand marketing attracts more customers which leads to a margin increase. And not only the buyers are affected: strong brand gives people something to believe in, so employees are more loyal to the company. Still, brand effectivity is measured not just by the number of completed sales, but the customer experienced it organizes.
Let’s take a look at Coca-Cola and Pepsi examples. In 1975, Pepsi marketers proposed people to drink two sips of cola from unmarked cups. Then they asked which one tastes better. Almost everyone chose the cup with Pepsi, and the winner was obvious. What’s interesting is that while people liked Pepsi better, Coca-Cola dominated on the market. The same way it does now, almost 45 years after this campaign.
As it turned out, while we’re drinking the well-known beverage our brain does not pay attention to the taste but to our previous experiences connected with CocaCola brand. And these are the consequences of great branding.
Top 3 Great Brand Stories
It’s always interesting to check some real-life examples, especially when it comes to well-known companies. So let’s take a look at the great brand examples of Slack, Airbnb, and Lyft.
Back in 2009, Slack had to fight with competitors like Skype and other powerful brands. And what exactly brought success to this startup? Well-thought-out branding business plan! First, it showed that Slack was developed for professionals and worked great for business. Second, it was playful enough to make people feel cozier.
Cutting back on hotel expenses by living in a stranger’s apartment? Weird at first glance, but with a developed brand strategy Airbnb succeeded. The company speaks to travelers in their language, offering to explore new places – much cheaper than with hotels.
Lyft came onto the stage to show their on-demand ride service when Uber was young but promising enough. Lyft’s key to survival was making a product that would stand out. Pink colors, friendly community, and betting on more fun – Lyft was capable of powerful marketing that kept the company running.
How to build a brand with a limited budget?
Now’s the time to find out what steps to take to brand your business.
Step #1. Identify the personas
Personas are fictional personalities that are similar to your target audience. They embody the main goals and needs of potential customers, as well as predict behavior. By putting these factors together, you understand who uses your products or services, why so, and what media channels to exploit to get to them. And by obtaining these details, you will reach the right people and build the brand more effectively.
You can start creating the personas using MakeMyPersona tool by HubSpot. The service asks a few questions and identifies your ideal persona.
Step #2. Make a great social presence
If you’ve already identified your personas, time to find out how to reach them. First, determine what social media they use more often. But understanding where the majority of customers hangs out doesn’t mean you should concentrate on these networks only. Build your brand presence focusing on the majority, but don’t skip the rest.
Finally, mind that you should maintain your presence all the time. A brand’s Twitter or Facebook page with no updates won’t inspire confidence in customers and thus won’t make your brand look stronger in their eyes.
Step #3. Create a blog
By starting a blog on your company’s website, you contribute to attracting qualified customers – the perfect personas. But that can happen if you post a well-heeled content with information visitors need. And don’t forget about SEO optimization, otherwise, it’ll be hard to find the content.
Usually, people make quick research before buying a service or product they know little about. This way, your blog contributes to the brand development process, informing customers about something they’re looking for. And more – you always have a source of content to post on the company’s social network pages.
Step #4. Make customer service the top priority
Let’s review Zappos example – a company that makes customer service their top priority. This way, they not only build customer loyalty but save lots of pennies cutting out marketing and advertising expenses.
But how to build a brand without big investments? Use word-of-mouth approach! It costs nothing for satisfied customers to share their great experience with your company, but it’s a task for you to ensure it.
Step #5. Find partners
Sure, the steps we’ve described will help you with building a great brand, but it takes time. And if you go for a quick start, it’s a good idea to partner with some famous companies.
Here are some tips on finding the right partner:
- Make a research on your partner’s audience and find out whether your brand if going to be interesting for them.
- It’s a win-win partnership, so make sure you have something for your partner to offer.
- Choose a well-known non-commercial organization as your partner. Mind that people tend to base their decisions towards buying something on the social responsibility of a brand.
As you see, working on a brand development strategy requires some endeavors. Still, it’s possible to make a great brand even on a limited budget. Main trick is enjoying the process.
About the Author!
Vitaly Kuprenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It’s a mobile and website application development company in Ukraine. He enjoys telling about tech innovations and digital ways to boost businesses.