When it comes to branding, there are two types of clients agencies usually encounter – one who understands its weight, value and ROI and is happy to go through the journey of discovering the brand’s ‘why’ with you, and the other who asks, “how much do you charge for a logo?” Though there are a number blogs, talks or videos branding experts publish explaining how a brand is not a logo, there are still those who will think otherwise.
While branding is a term so widely used in today’s world whether by those who understand what it means or those who don’t look beyond a logo. Before branding agencies were established, “branding” was already in existence in different parts of the world. In primarily – before the agencies, the branding experts, and the modern tools and strategies – to stand out from other livestock in the farm, ranchers of 2000 BC would ‘brand’ their cattle with their names, allowing them to distinguish one ranch’s cattle from another’s Over time, branding has evolved and now, companies use it to market themselves and connect with their target audience.
After many decades of witnessing a number of brands earn the limelight through great branding, industry experts have gathered key take outs and now have a good grasp of the benefits companies can get out of it.
Benefits of branding:
Enhanced customer trust and loyalty:
A strong brand is like a gift that keeps on giving. You invest in it once and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come – that includes your customers’ trust and loyalty. An example would, be such as having an e-commerce website that has a bad design and horrible navigation. It will make your customers think twice about making a purchase because it doesn’t look credible.
On the other hand, an e-commerce website with intuitive design, user-friendly navigation and great product options will make your customers want to buy and after a great experience, make another purchase and maybe even tell their friends about it. Just by providing a great brand experience, you’ve earned a brand ambassador, who will not only keep coming back to your website but will share their experience with friends and family, garnering you further customers.
Higher cost tolerance from customers:
One of the greatest things about having a trusted brand is that your customers will feel comfortable give you their money in exchange for your products. Your products might not be the best and there’s likely another brand that offers same quality as you do for a lower price, however your customers will still choose you (through thick and thin – wallets!)
Starbucks, for example, has such a big customer base despite their product prices being higher than other cafés where you can get a good cup of coffee without spending the extra bucks for a cuppa and that is because having a Starbucks cup in your hand on your way to work gives you a label which tells people around you that you belong to a certain socio-economic group. That cup is a status symbol. In essence, people sometimes pay for the brand name, not necessarily the product themselves.
Memorability and recognition:
Great brands are hard to forget and easy to recognize. Can you imagine a world that wouldn’t know what Coca-Cola is? Do you know anyone who doesn’t know what the McDonalds logo looks like and what colors it uses? Highly unlikely. That’s the power of branding. If your target audience doesn’t know who you are and what you look like, something has got to change.
In some parts of the world, certain brands are too memorable and recognizable that consumers use the brand name as a product category. For example, any toothpaste is called Colgate and any photocopying machine is called a Xerox machine. How did these companies manage to do that? Through great branding, which overtime has lead to brand recognition allowing brands not even needing their names mentioned and people knowing who they are – colours, logos, fonts, and icons do all the talking!
Faster internal decision making:
Not only does branding benefit the company as a whole, there is one specific department that reaps a lot of benefits – the marketing team. If your company’s branding has been created correctly, there’s a good chance your marketing team won’t have to spend countless hours deciding whether this tone of voice is better than that for a digital campaign or if a shade of blue, red or green is a little too dark for a brochure.
These things would have already been decided and finalized during the branding process and written in your brand guidelines. After all, when it comes to your brand’s communications, your marketing team’s job is not to create for the brand, but to create according to the brand.
So, is branding really necessary? The answer is both yes and no. It is necessary if you want your business to grow, realize its potential, and have a competitive edge in an ever-changing market. However, if you’re the kind of business owner who is content with earning little to no customer loyalty and having a weak market presence, then you probably don’t need it. If that changes (and we do hope it does), give us a call – we’re all ears.