For Each Of These Generating Functions Provide A Closed Formula The Importance of Branding and Identity

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The Importance of Branding and Identity

When you hear the word “branding,” it conjures up a mental image of a rancher stamping his mark on the hides of his cattle. Well, product branding isn’t quite as painful, but it follows the same principle. You want to “burn” your brand’s image in the consumer’s mind.

Some examples of recognizable brands include the red, white and blue “smiling” Pepsi logo, the infamous Nike “swish”, the elegant L-oval of Lexus and the golden arches of McDonald’s. These icons represent images established and expressed in our minds.

So what’s the difference between a logo and a brand? Some may call the aforementioned examples—logos—while others will refer to them as corporate brands. So what’s the difference? Logos are an image or symbol that represents a person, place or thing and in many cases are used as an identifier of a product or service. It can be equated to a person’s “signature”.

Brands, on the other hand, will be like a person’s “character” – It’s who you are, what you’re about and what you value. A company’s brand is not really different, it is literally the personality of the company, it reveals the personality of the owner, board of directors, shareholders or corporate culture.

Branding takes time, it’s not something that’s easily achieved overnight. Even the advertising gods are unable to do that. And it takes repeated exposure to achieve success. Logos, the visual symbol of a brand, bring immediate awareness of what a product or service has to offer and what reputation a company can have.

A definition of what branding might be in the context of marketing might sound like this: “Branding is a long and sustained effort to convey an idea, concept or feeling in someone’s mind.” Or put another way “brand identity should help establish a relationship between the brand and the customer by generating value, function, emotion or a form of self-expression.”

A number of studies have been conducted over the last two decades to assess brand awareness and brand exposure.

Depending on which study you refer to, the average person is exposed to consumer brand and commercial messages between 300 and 5000 times daily, depending on personal habits. Think about your drive to work this morning, how many billboards did you pass? What about commercial vehicles with signs? What do you say about past businesses and their logos?

Branding is important because the stronger the brand the easier the communication. It’s like a snowball rolling down a hill…it gets bigger and gains more speed.

It is the constant repetition of an idea, product or service, which ultimately leads the customer to identify with your brand through association. Kleenex is a brand after all, but we use it as a generic term! Google is another example; You don’t search for things on the web, you “Google” them.

So how does this relate to your company’s brand? Well, as you can see, it’s more than just a pretty cool looking logo; It’s getting your brand out there and communicating effectively and consistently. The main purpose of a strategic marketing plan for your brand is to build name recognition and positive opinion about your product or service so that your target audience thinks of your company when they need your services. It’s about how your brand is perceived. If your product or service is perceived negatively, your brand is in danger of losing ground with your customers and future customers. On the other hand, if your brand is perceived positively… business success is likely to follow. Your brand should convey a sense of value and provide an emotional experience to the audience you want to reach.

Let’s look at some examples of perception. Wal-Mart is regarded as a low-cost leader and a value retail store while Macy’s “Star” presents a more upscale image and quality goods at higher prices. While the Lexus LS sedan is considered a luxury vehicle, the Ford Taurus is considered lower in cost and quality. Each of these examples appeals to the desires of target demographics.

These examples illustrate how brands can target select groups of people and communicate their messages effectively. Each is perceived differently and each transmits different emotions.

So how does one go about creating a strong brand that becomes a household name? One word…consistency. Many companies use tricks, games and gimmicks. And that’s okay. Engaging and entertaining your customers is great, however, if it serves the purpose of increasing brand awareness and ultimately sales.

In closing, think about your company’s brand and answer some questions… How do you believe your brand is perceived by your customers? Does your target audience recognize it? If not, what changes should you make to ensure they do?

Whether it’s from the ground up or your brand is already established, branding your product or service is important. It takes persistence, consistency and a lot of patience.

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