In my experience branding is a very misunderstood area in business and I think this is because to some people branding means a company name or logo and to others it’s the systems, processes and practices. If you research branding online you can become overwhelmed by the information available and if you’re a business owner or senior manager, do you really have the time to research and educate yourself on the inner working of branding. Surely your strengths are focussing on driving your business to achieve its goals and delegate the branding to an agency that can focus purely on your brand without being distracted by all the day to day business matters.
However, you can have the greatest logo, the most stylish office, the exceptional quality print and a fabulous communications strategy but if your service and product quality is lacking then your brand will suffer as a consequence.
Right now as I write this article I’m consciously supporting the branding effort of Northview Creative and in today’s digital world I’m actually branding myself because this article is going to be linked to me online for everyone to see… forever!
To me, branding is creating and strengthening the intellectual property of your business. Your brand ultimately is an intangible entity, its power and value is in your stakeholder’s mind. Your brand establishes a relationship with your customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders to the extent that they have confidence and trust in your brand. It is also very important to understand that branding is a continuous effort. Developing the right image to portray your brand is vital and this is where Northview Creative can help you. A colour, a particular font, a symbol or a mixture of all three maybe the answer, it will have to stand the test of time not look out of date within 12 months.
It is also important to choose a name for your business that represents your brand and its values even if at the outset you may not have actually started trading as yet but this name will become linked with trust and confidence. The brand name may also be inflexible to suit some industries and a perfect example of this is Virgin and their diversification in to the wedding market with the business name Virgin Brides, a great PR opportunity but an unsuccessful business.
In very simple terms if a customer had to choose between your product and a competitor’s product, the brand is what should persuade your customer to choose your product. You have failed in the branding of your business if the customer makes a decision based on price, because a customer who makes a decision on price isn’t a customer who appreciates value for money and their decision is based on practical limitations i.e. money available. However, if the difference in price is small, for example, you had to choose a Blu-ray player and for the exact same specification an LG was £50 and SONY £65, which would you choose? What effect would it have on your decision if the prices were the other way around? There is no right or wrong answer because it is your relationship and perception of LG and SONY that will justify your decision to yourself.
The intellectual property value of a brand could be worth millions on its own without any business. If Virgin sold all of its businesses tomorrow as well as having a pile of cash the brand name ‘Virgin’ would continue to hold a financial value of many millions.
Marketing merges with branding because your brand has a set of ‘values’. It promises to deliver within these values, therefore, the marketing effort should support the brand and strengthen it.
If you want help with your branding or are considering a rebrand of your business then why not give Phil a call on 07833 454 253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org