What is the first thing that comes to mind when the name ‘McDonald’s’ is mentioned?
Perhaps it is the iconic golden arches, or maybe the image of a burger, or even the image of Ronald McDonald, the mascot? All these are the symbols that one can associate with the brand; they are a true representation of who the brand is and what consumers can expect from them.
What Is Branding?
By definition, branding is a marketing practice where your company creates a name, design or symbol that belongs to your business alone. Not only does branding give your consumers a memorable experience with your business, but it also allows your customers to know exactly what to expect from your company.
Your brand is built to represent who you are as a business and how you wish to be perceived by your consumers. It is a way to distinguish yourself from your competitors and clarify what it is that makes your company a better choice over the competition.
There are several areas such as advertising, customer service, promotional merchandise, logo and reputation that play an important role in the development of a brand. Together, they form one attention-grabbing profile that we know as ‘branding’.
Impact Of Branding
Branding is extremely important to your business because of the overall impact it makes on your company. It can change the way people look at your brand, drive new business and increase brand awareness, to name a few. Branding is something that combines elements from consumer psychology as well as marketing, so its impacts on your business are various.
- Recognition- This is perhaps the most important impact of branding on a business. Branding is how a company gets recognition from its consumers and competition in the market. The logo becomes the most critical factor here since it serves as the face of your company. Potential clients and customers form an idea about what they can expect from your brand. It is also why the logo of your company should be catchy and easily memorable out of several others in the market. Printed promotional products are a great way to gain recognition for your brand.
- Increase in Business Value- Branding is important when you are trying to generate future business. A strongly established and well-known brand such as Jimmy Choo or Armani feels justified in increasing the value of their products and business because it gives them leverage over their competitors in the industry. This also makes well-established brands a more appealing investment opportunity because of their firm roots in the market.
- New Customers- The word of mouth is the best form of advertising that any business can get. If your brand performs well among your clients and consumers, there is a chance that your business can gain an influx of new customers as well. Effective branding usually means that your company has a strong impression among your consumers and they are likely to come back to do business with you because of the familiarity and assumed dependability your brand provides.
- Establishes Trust- A professional appearance and effective branding can help you establish trust among your consumers, potential clients and customers. Your consumers and clients are more likely to do business with you when your company has a polished and professional look. Branding can help you achieve that by making your target audience feel like they can trust your brand enough to do business with you.
- Employee Pride & Satisfaction- When your brand is strongly established, your employees feel prouder and more empowered to be working at your company. Working with a reputed brand makes them highly regarded by their contacts, which makes working at your company an enjoyable and memorable journey for them. This sense of belonging can be further improved by providing your employees with branded merchandise at their desk.
- Supports Advertising-Advertising is almost second nature when it comes to branding. Your advertising strategies directly reflect your brand as well as how you want your audience to perceive it. Advertising techniques such as the use of samples and promotional products make it easier to create a cohesive and appealing strategy that fits your branding goals.
- Creates Buyer Aspirations- Brands have an aspirational element to them. More prestigious and established brands reflect this in their prices. Customers purchase products from such brands because they somehow become statement products. The desire for an iPhone stays put, no matter how many other cost-effective smartphones are available. Another example is the trademarked red-soled pair of Louboutins that are one of a kind. Consumers attach social standards with brands that are better established.
- Alter Buyer Intentions- A strongly established brand can sway a buyer much more effectively than brands that are not. Brands often come with stories and have followership that trusts in the brand. For example, Apple’s logo comes with Steve Jobs’s story, which in turn adds an aura to the brand that non-branded products don’t have. This makes buyers go for established brands instead of non-branded products.
- Buyers’ Self Concept- Every individual has a certain image of themselves in their minds. When they buy something, they would like the products to go with their self-concepts. For example, a teenager who is trying to find his own style inspired by internal and external factors would look for a brand such as Levi’s who claim to ‘Shape My World’ through their products. For this, brands need to understand their target audience and create a buyer persona for the possible kind of audience they might attract.
- Loyalty- Brands that offer their customers extra benefits for regularly doing business with them gain their trust and loyalty. Any aspiring business should aim to develop this sense of loyalty among their consumers. People regularly visit Starbucks and Sephora because they offer their consumers points and discounts for regularly purchasing from them. This sense of loyalty is achieved much more effectively by a well-established brand.
Branding has become an essential part of every business, big or small. It helps you convey your ideas and views to the world and also helps you connect with your potential consumers. An effective brand can reach more and more people, which in turn can positively affect the growth of your business. Not only does branding affect your business, it also affects your customers’ buying patterns, decisions and behaviour. To maximise the impact of branding on your business, it is important to pay attention to your customers and incorporate their suggestions into improving your business to ensure maximum success.
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