What is Branding?
Almost every business has a trading name, from the smallest market trader to the largest multi-national corporation. Only a minority of those businesses however, have what could be classed as a ‘brand’ or a ‘brand name’.
Branding is a word commonly referred to by advertisers and marketing people, but what does it actually mean, how can you get it, and most importantly; how will it benefit your business?
What is Branding?
There are many different definitions of a brand, the most effective description however, is that a brand is a name or symbol that is commonly known to identify a company or it’s products and separate them from the competition.
A well-known brand is generally regarded as one that people will recognise, often even if they do not know about the company or its products/services. These are usually the businesse s name or the name of a product, although it can also include the name of a feature or style of a product.
The overall ‘branding’ of a company or product can also stretch to a logo, symbol, or even design features (e.g. Regularly used colours or layouts, such as red and white for Coca Cola.) that identify the company or its products/services.
The Nike brand name is known throughout the world, people can identify the name and logo even if they have never bought any of their products.
However, not only is the company name a brand, but the logo (The ‘tick’ symbol) is also a strong piece of branding in its own right. The majority of people that are aware of the company can also identify it (or its products) from this symbol alone.
The clothing and running shoe company Adidas is well known for using three stripes on its range of products. This design feature branding allows people to identify their products, even if the Adidas brand name and logo is not present.
How Can Branding Benefit My Business?
Recognition and Loyalty
The main benefit of branding is that customers are much more likely to remember your business. A strong brand name and logo/ image helps to keep your company image in the mind of your potential customers.
If your business sells products that are often bought on impulse, a customer recognising your brand could mean the difference between no-sale and a sale. Even if the customer was not aware that you sell a particular product, if they trust your brand, they are likely to trust you with unfamiliar products. If a customer is happy with your products or services, a brand helps to build customer loyalty across your business.
Image of Size
A strong brand will project an image of a large and established business to your potential customers. People usually associate branding with larger businesses that have the money to spend on advertising and promotion. If you can create effective branding, then it can make your business appear to be much bigger than it really is.
An image of size and establishment can be especially important when a customer wants reassurance that you will still be around in a few years time.
Image of Quality
A strong brand projects an image of quality in your business, many people see the brand as a part of a product or service that helps to show its quality and value.
It is commonly said that if you show a person two identical products, only one of which is branded; they will almost always believe the branded item is higher quality.
If you can create effective branding, then over time the image of quality in your business will usually go up. Of course, branding cannot replace good quality, and bad publicity will damage a brand (and your businesses image), especially if it continues over a long period of time.
The Sunny Delight drinks brand was one of the biggest in the UK just a year after its launch. However, constant bad publicity about the quality of the product has severely damaged the image of the brand, and sales have dropped for each of the past several years.
Image of Experience and Reliability
A strong brand creates an image of an established business that has been around for long enough to become well known. A branded business is more likely to be seen as experienced in their products or services, and will generally be seen as more reliable and trustworthy than an unbranded business.
Most people will believe that a business would be hesitant to put their brand name on something that was of poor quality.
If your business has a strong brand, it allows you to link together several different products or ranges. You can put your brand name on every product or service you sell, meaning that customers for one product will be more likely to buy another product from you.
Sony sells televisions, music equipment, consoles, camcorders, DVD players, video players, and etc all under the Sony brand name.
You can also create separate brand names for your product ranges, allowing people to see your brand name, and then use the range brand name to work out what they wish to buy.
Cadbury’s makes a range of confectionary under many different sub-brand names such as Dairy Milk, Boost, Flake, and Time Out. All of these are sold under the product brand, but all feature the Cadbury’s brand name on the packaging.
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