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In this post, I’m going to explain what does strategic branding mean and why it is extremely important.
Aren't you curious why strategic branding is vague and has subjective views on it? Then you might find this post really interesting.
In this topic, I will give an in-depth explanation on “what branding is?” backed with some credible definitions and case studies
Let's hop into it
This post includes:
Strategic branding is probably not about what most of you think. Branding is derived from the word brand, and to understand branding, first you need to know what is a brand.
If you google the definition of brand this is what you will find:-
That is a literal meaning of brand signifying the name.
Elon Musk quoted:
Brand is a unique set of values and attributes that coexist within you and your company which eventually becomes a trademark that guarantee reliability, evoke desire and providing the sense of belonging to the target audience.
Marty Neumier quoted:
Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.
But a brand is not just that, “a brand is perception or “gut feeling” a consumer has of a business or person. Created in a combination of the business and consumer.”
It is not just your logo
Brand is the result of where you envision your brand to be heard and what it signifies in years to come and who does it speak to. Brand affects everything, you, your business, your employee, your customer and even strangers.
Here is an metaphorical illustration that might give a clear picture on the difference on branding vs marketing
Now that you understand what a brand is, strategic branding is the planned process leading up to it.
Branding is the process to create and generate the brand’s identity with visuals, attributes and proper messaging to the target market while providing the intended user experience. Branding is most commonly misunderstood with creating logos, mockups and head banners, while all those are actually important it is tertiary.
Branding starts deep within the roots which is the core branding
Imagine this :-
In the picture above, the bell framework representing core branding, without the framework there is would be no shape of the bell. Even if there is a body, it will just serve as an empty shell.
Therefore, if a design is made with no core branding is just an empty shell.
Lets see how it works
The core branding always starts with a question,
Section inspired by Dain Walker
It is the understanding and answers of these questions that makes the skeleton for the core branding
A brand that eventually becomes iconic starts from the very core and here is how Apple started theirs:-
Here is case study of how Apple have become who they are today from their core branding revolving around "simplicity" for their customers:-
Today, Apple's brand position has evolved, but the brand is still consistent with these early promises.
Now here comes best part, the external branding
Here is where you take all the values and understanding of the core branding and structure up visually from different aspects and angles
Visual branding is crucial because the customer experience has the highest priority and the term "don't judge the book by its cover" renders it useless because no matter how good the core branding is, if the external branding can't enchant or convey the right message to the right people, your brand will be like one of the dusty books on the bookshelf.
Let's take a website for example:-
Users form their first impressions within the first 0.05 seconds, so unless you make a positive first impression, people will quickly exit your site in favor of a competitor’s. @Razmi Chamat / *8Ways Media
This is why external branding is crucial. Here are some beautiful examples for external branding:
Now that branding is explained, lets move into why you need it
First let me show you the top brands in world today
As you can see, these companies had amazing branding which has so much worth so much today. This is due to their brand investment, which brought them to today’s value. All these top brands have something in common which is a unique selling proposition and unique value proposition.
And this granted them:
Imagine meeting a celebrity that you have always admired or follow. Yes just like how you recognize a celeb, brand recognition functions the same way. People like you and I remember a brand for its attribute on the character it presents.
The brand's recognizable attribute contributes in reserving a spot in the human brain. So the next time someone sees your brand he/she should be able to relate to something the brand represent.
Being a brand that is reliable and trustworthy grants a strong credibility and this convinces investors and even customers to invest in the brand.
Potential employees are always drawn towards good and strong brands, because they feel more secure and carrying the brand name bring them pride.
While branding is a major factor for any business to succeed, it is perhaps of greater importance in the case of talent acquisition companies.
Because you are not selling the company products or services: You are selling the organization as an employer and branding helps create that value in both potential candidates and customers. It becomes important to offer your customers a strong branding.
Brand loyalty is important. It helps develop loyalty among the customers and they tend to prefer a particular brand over the other.
How to develop loyalty among the potential candidates:
- They should be able to recognize your branding easily
- They should know what it stands for and feel proud about being associated with it.
Brand loyal consumer love brands that are upfront about their company :-
Consumers would rather buy from an authentic brand that shares their values, than from a company that does not. Since candidate are lifetime customers of your branding, it is necessary to build an authentic branding.
Candidates have a strong sense of branding and if they feel discriminated against because of the branding, they may go for another brand – you don't want that right?
Having a solid brand for a company that always have a goal which is to help someone in exchange for money and this converts to brand equity over time. Brand equity grows exponentially over time and this creates more value and worth for the brand itself.
Building brand equity is the process of acquiring and maintaining customer loyalty. This involves the branding process of a company which includes branding strategies such as branding, branding touch points, branding elements etc.
Consistency in the brand is very important to imprint a strong impression of the brand. Consistency is the main catalyst for recognition section.
It is very important that branding elements are consistent throughout the branding process & touch points.
Here are some examples of Apple and Starbucks with consistency throughout:-
Strategic branding is an integral part of a company's branding and marketing efforts. A strong branding can create new customers for your business, while also increasing customer loyalty among current ones. When building your brand, it’s important to keep in mind the different elements that make up a brand identity and how they should be applied consistently throughout all branding touch points.
Here is 6 branding statistics you need to know today
If you are looking for help with crafting or implementing a branding strategy for yourself or another organization, let us know!