One of the most effective market strategies your company can choose is crafting a brand. A brand makes a product or service distinctive or unique compared with others in the market.
Your brand creates a visual, emotional, and cultural connection between customers and your company.
Think of Disney’s brand. It’s known as the family entertainment leader in its industry. But that didn’t just happen. A brand this ingrained is intentional and requires consistent hard work, dedication, and energetic support. Disney’s marketing materials and messages convey a theme of family fun, clean environments, and great service. It hires only people who can meet its standards. It trains them at Disney University to learn their roles to provide great customer experiences.
Tip: Every company has an image, intentional or unintentional. Make yours intentional through branding strategies.
Also, think about Apple. In every tagline, product, and packaging design, they communicate their brand. Their in-store help area is called The Genius Bar. Their designs are sleek and simple, their products are fast and light. They want you to think of them as your gateway into the future.
And remember: Not all messages are communicated with words. Opening a new iPhone or Macbook is like a mini-journey, each step revealing a piece of information, a welcome message, and the pieces included with your purchase. The item itself is packaged like a rare gem that only you have access to.
Case Study – Brainstorming
How do you want customers to experience your company?
What do you want your customers to feel when interacting with your brand? Write three words that describe this experience (e.g. eager, happy, relieved).
Click on the “Notes” option in the bottom left corner to write these down!
Benefits of a Strong Brand
When customers buy a brand, they buy its values and promises. They feel their expectations are aligned with the company. The product or service the customers buy and their experience buying into the brand encourage them to buy the same brand again.
By preferring to buy what your company offers, customers are increasing the value of your brand. Customer loyalty to your brand helps you penetrate your market more effectively and maintain or increase market share.
A number of companies have successfully created a brand that stands out in people’s minds. Their brands have a positive association, a recognized name, and a higher perceived value than their competitors.
Examples of powerful brands:
- Lexus® is premium quality and luxury.
- Lysol® kills germs.
- Ben & Jerry’s® is wholesome, premium ice cream, with fun flavors.
- Whole Foods Market® is the supermarket of healthy foods.
- Patagonia® creates high-quality, environmentally sustainable outdoor wear.
- Supercuts® offers haircuts at rock-bottom pricing.
- Jiffy-Lube® provides quick and reliable car service.
Branding is not just for large corporations. All businesses can use branding to win a place in both the customers’ hearts and minds.
Branding is Double-Edged
The effects of branding are powerful, so you need to be aware of the potential downsides. First, make sure your brand does not become synonymous with negative images, issues, or themes. Second, be aware that it is difficult to change perceptions about a brand once a brand becomes known.
Tip: Create your brand intentionally. Know in advance what brand image you want to portray, and protect your brand from negative connections.