An insight into understanding the power of a brand!
To begin to understand what a brand is, you must first understand that your brand does not exist in your marketing department, your public relations team, or your CEO’s office. A brand exists only in the minds of your customers. If you Google “brand definition” you’ll find multiple different attempts on just the first page of search results alone. There are so many competing misconceptions about what a brand is that it might be simpler to say what a brand is not: A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a name. A brand is not a trademark, symbol or jingle. Yes, these things affect the brand, but a brand encompasses all of this and more. Simply put, a brand is the sum total of all the impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company and your products. Each one of these interactions tells a story to your customers. If your customer believes that a product is new and innovative, then those attributes become part of your brand in that customer’s mind. If your packaging is beautifully illustrated, then they may view your brand as sophisticated or elite. On the other hand, if your service is poor, customers might think you’re stubborn or rude. If your print materials are designed poorly, you may look cheap and amateur.
In order to understand the concept of branding, first we need to know what products and brands are.
“Broadly, a product is anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy a want or need, including physical goods, services, experiences, events, persons, places, properties, organizations, information, and ideas” (Kotler & Keller, 2015).
This means that a product can be anything from a hotel stay, a flight, a language course, to clothes, food, a toothbrush etc.
To illustrate the definition of a product and the role it occupies in defining branding, we will use the example of water:
Water is a free resource that every human being needs to live and survive. Yet it became a product the day humans and companies started to commercialize it, for example by selling mineral water in glass and plastic bottles
But water always looks the same, isn’t it? It is liquid and transparent. So, how can different companies sell the same product but still convince people to purchase their bottled water instead of the one from the competition?
The answer is: by creating a brand.
A strong brand increases the chances of customers choosing your product or service over your competitors. It attracts more customers, at a lower cost per acquisition, who are happy to pay a little more and will buy a little more often.
A product is what you sell, a brand is the perceived image of the product you sell, and branding is the strategy to create that image.
Branding is the process of giving a meaning to specific organization, company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed by organizations to help people to quickly identify and experience their brand, and give them a reason to choose their products over the competition’s, by clarifying what this particular brand is and is not.
We at Whitespace deeply understand this realm and the process of creating a strong brand. We understand that the hesitancy of some companies to invest in branding boils down to a matter of perception. It isn’t easy to draw direct correlations between successful branding and quantifiable returns. But the simple fact is you can’t put a price on the value of developing a truly authentic brand.
So, why invest in branding? The operative word here is “investment.” Too many companies see branding as just another expense counted against their marketing budget. But when you understand how integral branding is to influencing consumer behavior, you see that it’s more than just a tactic. It is a long-term strategy that can yield measurable returns throughout the life of your company.
At the end of the day, your brand is the way the world perceives your company. What could be a smarter investment than shaping that perception?