I’ll Take The Branded One

Why investing in branding is the smartest bet you can make.

It’s safe to say that the word BRAND gets thrown around a lot with all the modern business jargon. Right alongside competency and empower. But when it comes down to it most managers, business owners and consumers would not be able to succinctly describe what a brand is or isn’t. Let alone how it benefits their organization.

 

Branding tends to be a highly misunderstood topic. It is as simple as it is abstract. Objective yet highly personal; set in stone but constantly evolving. At its core branding is what makes people choose one company over another.

 

All things being equal why would you select Keringet water over Dasani? To look at, to taste and based on price the product ‘water’ is almost identical, right down to the parent company. So what then are we buying into?

Before you, write-off branding as yet another marketing expense, gaining a clearer understanding of just how essential it is to strengthen your company’s offering is time well spent. A good place to start is to figure out what branding is not. Demystifying a few essential misconceptions.

  1. A brand is just a logo

Most often overheard ‘I’ve already got a brand, I created the logo myself, it’s very attractive’.  A brand is not just a logo. When you think of Tusker is the only thing that comes to mind the elephant icon? The likely answer is no, not close. A brand embodies everything you stand for as a company. It is the sum of all the expectations, perceptions, values, purpose and personality as a business. It is the reasoning for people to trust you and buy from you – that promise you give them. Do you know what you do and why you do it?

  1. Consumers only care about the product (or service). Branding gets in the way

Branding helps consumers identify with you. It helps them gauge whether or not they connect with what you represent. Like it nor our decision to purchase is intrinsically emotional. It is made instantly, that two-second first impression based on recalling images and feelings. If your company is to last you need to create loyalty beyond reason, that compelling need for your consumer to buy. What will make you order a Tusker over any other beer? It is not just the taste. How about its Kenyan identity? It speaks to our sense of pride and nationalism. It represents a local success story. Something drinkers want to feel good about. It is more relatable compared to an international counterpart.

  1. Why invest in branding when it won’t make me any money?

Yes selling your offering is what brings in the money. But, what will drive those sales? What compelling reasoning are you giving a consumer to choose you? If you don’t have a reason, they may pick you today but equally, they may pick your competitor tomorrow. And whilst it is true that branding can be a costly exercise most typically associated with larger companies you don’t need their budgets to effectively build your brand. Think of your brand as a promise. Your job is to make sure that every aspect of your business fulfils this promise.

  1. Branding is the responsibility of the Marketing Department

If our job is to ensure that we keep our consumer promise at every interaction point then it becomes clear that branding is integral from our CEO to customer service, HR to marketing. Without exception, each employee must live and champion what the brand stands for. Best-put marketing is the vehicle to get the message out there. Branding is the message. So is our message consistent all over? Are we speaking the same language?

Ultimately the strength of a brand rests on its ability to build relationships, the intangible human connection. But it is this hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse and mediocre brands from each other. So as you start this new month, perhaps take a few minutes to relook at your brand.