Branding – is it still important?
05 February 2013
Branding – is it still important?
The concept of branding came from a time when ranch owners would brand cattle with a unique identifying mark, signifying ownership. Today, the word represents something just as important for businesses: the identity of a company.
Some of the biggest named companies have all created a dominant market share with strong brands and logos. You couldn't mistake Zurich's logo for any other insurance company, nor could you confuse the iconic typography used by Coca-Cola.
Yet even though we see all of these corporate giants capturing their share of the market every day – with strong advertising messages, powerful logos and consistent marketing – many companies out there still don't recognise the importance of a good brand.
The number of small businesses in the UK has been growing constantly and 2012 figures from the Federation of Small Businesses showed that there are almost 4.8 million of them in Britain, employing 14.1 million people and turning over £1,500 billion. So there is a lot of competition out there and by defining your brand you can become one of the companies that stands out.
What is a brand?
A brand is what defines your company's values, practises, products and most importantly its reputation with your customers. By actively researching the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective audience you can gain a good understanding of what will turn them on and off in marketing terms.
A brand is more than just a pretty logo; it stands for the immediate image, emotions, or perceptions people experience when they hear your company name and has various stages:
- Brand image: the perceptions held by consumers of your products or services when they think about your brand.
- Brand recognition: knowing the name, logo or activity of your brand, but not necessarily knowing it belongs you.
- Brand awareness: recognising a brand as belonging to your company. They may not prefer it to your competitors, but they know it is yours.
- Top-of-mind brand awareness: your brand pops to mind when consumers think of a product – for example, when thinking of baked beans, Heinz is often a first thought.
- Brand preference: something every company should aspire to – customers or clients know the brand, know your product/service and buy or use it.
Is a brand worth the expense?
Many business owners think that marketing alone is enough to succeed. Logos can be seen as merely the name in a font and colour. While branding is often thought of as something that can't be quantified when it comes to marketing budgets – as focus lies entirely on end results, as opposed to acknowledging customer experiences and impressions.
But it is the logo and brand identity that will set the tone for the entire business. Company websites, campaign landing pages, social media sites, emailers and online ads, right through to posters, events, direct marketing, press, TV and radio all need to align with the brand messaging and help develop its reputation.
The benefits of a strong brand
Everyone who comes into contact with your business should become aware of your brand ethos, whether they are employees, clients, customers, suppliers, prospective customers or even your competition. So it’s vital that the brand is strong, has a convincing presence and is consistently gives the right message.
A strong brand should be the foundation of your marketing strategies and with a definite brand in place all of your communications can reflect the personality of your company. Creative marketing can differentiate your business from your competitors – helping you to stand out in overcrowded markets.
To develop your brand and create a stronger market awareness, contact us on 01892 541111 for a free no-obligation quotation or visit design agency studio in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.