As society moves into post modernism, new companies have evolved and older ones have reformed their businesses to meet the needs of people and companies. Branding applies to most organisations in almost all contexts such as; the public sector, the voluntary or third party sector etc. The success of a product, service, organisation and business is based on being perceived as unique.
‘‘A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods or services of one seller from among a group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competitors.’’ (Kotler 1994)
Branding is crucial to the success of any tangible product. Brands create imaginations and direct behaviour patterns amongst consumers to influence consumers to buy the product. A brand is a promise of an experience. Effective branding of a product or service enables the retailer to benefit from brand marketing support by helping to attract more customers who don’t know about their service or product. Strong brands reinforce a good reputation and quality.
Branding can help build strong successful business by:
- Driving sales growth by attracting new competitors
- Create barriers to entry for new competitors when loyal customers are reluctant to switch
- Act as a form of insurance during economic downturns when a brand’s loyal customers are more likely to stay with their favourite brand through tough times
All brands vary in the amount of power and value they serve in the marketplace. Some companies incorporate a trademark. A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business or organisation to identify for consumers that the products or services on or with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source for a specific market. Companies can also use their trade mark as a marketing tool for consumers to recognise their product. For example; WHSmith, Imperial Leather
Ultimately, brands are only valuable to businesses because they are valuable to consumers. Consumers rely on brands to deliver a consistent level of quality and reliability and tend to pay more for a branded product than a generic one. Consumers are not passive recipients of marketing activity and branding is not something done to consumers, it is what consumers do with these commodities.
Historically, advertising was seen as the leading tool for brand building, but by the 21st century this all changed due to traditional advertising declining. The best form of advertising is the form that reaches consumers and the market. Advertising is a useful tool for fashioning an image, telling stories and maintaining awareness.
Branding helps the marketer to charge extra price for its product and with the help of advertising it helps to create a favourable image for the company’s name, brand or trademark. Everything from packaging of a product to price or place is crucial for success.
Brands that embody values and imagery that go further than mere functional utility are the most successful in our modern marketing economy. They typically relate to consumers concerns, aspirations and emotions. Brands frequently acquire an image of individuals who are seen using particular commodities.
‘‘Advertising and sponsorship are often used to convey images of prestige or success by associating the brand with glamorous personalities.’’ ‘‘In consumer tests, buyers will describe with great facility the types of people whom they perceive as drinking Guinness, driving Volvos or buying Rolex watches (Rodney D. Ryder, 2003)
It can be difficult to build a brand through just advertising alone as, “the birth of a brand is achieved with publicity, not advertising.” “Once born, a brand needs advertising to stay healthy.” Al Ries, Laura Ries (2002). The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. New York: Harper Collins. 108-109.
Although this is not always the case, these statements signify the importance of keeping a brand in the minds of consumers but it is also not directly proportional to sales.
In conclusion, trusted brands are not established overnight but are built up over time as a long-term investment in establishing brand promise. Too often companies rush to create marketing campaigns without considering the brand definition work. The look, feel, tone and voice of a brand are all communicated in a brand. What branding cannot do is rescue a lousy service or salvage a flawed product especially if a consumer has a bad experience with it.
Written by Elizabeth Boyes
Al Ries, Laura Ries (2002). The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. New York: Harper Collins. 108-109.
Ryder, R (2003). Brands, trademarks, and advertising. New York: Macmillan Publishers India Limited. P67-69.
Schenck, B. (2012). Building a Brand for Market Success. Available:http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/building-a-brand-for-market-success.html. Last accessed 21st July 2013.