What is branding?
The word brand comes from the Old Norse brandr meaning ‘to burn’. It refers to the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their product.
Brands in the field of mass-marketing originated in the 19th century with the introduction of packaged goods. Industrialisation moved the production of many household items, such as soap, from local communities to centralised factories. When shipping their items, the factories would literally brand their logo or insignia on the barrels used, extending the meaning of "brand" to that of trademark.
Brands can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, colour combination or slogan. Basically it is any feature that identifies one seller’s product as distinct from those of other sellers.
Today, branding has become so strong that hardly anything goes unbranded. A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It's important to invest time on defining and building a brand.
Brand awareness is of critical importance since customers won’t consider your brand if they are not aware of it. Global brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike are instantly recognised by a diverse set of consumers around the world through one simple trademark. Effective visual brand identity is achieved by the consistent use of particular visual elements to create a unique image. So at the core of every brand identity is a logo. Consumers around the world will see the ‘Apple’ logo and will instantly think of iPod’s and computers, even if they have never bought any of their products. These global brands reflect the same sets of values around the world.
A good brand will:
® Deliver the message clearly
® Confirms the credibility of the business
® Motivates the buyer
® Concretes consumer loyalty
To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers. Put simply, successful branding will make your business more money. With promotion of your brand comes consumer awareness, leading to the customer spending more money on your product and maximising purchase frequency and loyalty. This increases business and brand value, in turn leading to a greater profit.
The drinks company ‘innocent’ is a great example of how a business’s image and brand values can grow successfully after a small start-up, with a turnover today of £38 million. The founder’s developed the straightforward, slightly irreverent communication style that soon became the company’s trademark, without the use of a specialist agency. This easy going, no-nonsense approach appeared to be flying in the face of the big corporate drinks manufacturers. However, today Innocent has claimed a 63% share of the £111 million UK smoothie market, yet still maintains the integrity of its brand, retaining the trust and support of its customers. Smaller companies should take note of this success story, and witness just how a successful brand can enhance your business.