Everything You Wanted to Know About Branding: a beginner's guide
Don't know what "branding" means? Don't worry, it's something about marketing that is a little fuzzy and can be perplexing even for those who have studied the field.
If you're new to the world of branding, you may be wondering where to start. What is branding, anyway? How do you create a brand that represents your company or product in the best way possible? In this beginners guide, we will answer all of your questions and help you get started on the path to branding success.
First, we must understand what products and brands are in order to comprehend the notion of branding. Let's get started!
Kotler and Keller (2015) defined a product as "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.”
A product can be anything from a hotel stay to a flight, a language course, or even clothing, food, or a toothbrush. To illustrate the definition of a product and how it contributes to branding, we'll use water as an example:
Water is a necessary resource for human existence and maintenance. However, it has become a commodity since people and businesses began marketing it, such as by selling mineral water in a glass and plastic bottles. Isn't it the case that water always appears to be the same? It's a liquid and transparent substance. So, how can various businesses sell the same product while still enticing customers to buy theirs rather than another company's bottled water?
"An organization’s promise to a customer to deliver what the brand stands for not only in terms of functional benefits but also emotional, self-expressive, and social benefits. …It is also a journey, an evolving relationship based on the perceptions and experiences that a customer has every time he or she connects to the brand” (Aaker, 2014).
A brand is a concept or image people have in mind when thinking about a firm's products, services, and activities both a practical (e.g., "the shoe is light-weight") and an emotional (e.g., "the shoe makes me feel powerful") way. The feelings that consumers form about a company or its products help to define a brand. It is not just the physical characteristics that create a brand; rather, it is also the emotions that customers gain toward the business or its product. When exposed to the name, logo, visual identity, or even message conveyed, this mix of physical and emotional signals is triggered.
A product may be duplicated by other players in a market, but a brand will always be unique. Although the flavors of Pepsi and Coca-Cola are quite similar, some individuals feel more linked to Coca-Cola while others prefer Pepsi. Let's apply this to our water example once more. The product sold is water, but different water brands are available in order to persuade consumers to buy a particular brand of water, such as Evian, Perrier, Fijit, or Volvic. And each one of these brands provides a different meaning to the product water:
Evian makes you feel young
Perrier is refreshing, bubbling, and sexy
Fiji Water is pure, healthy, and natural
…and so on.
At the end of the day, a brand is a consumer's gut instinct regarding a specific product or company. It evolves and changes shape based on how people feel about it, some brands become more popular or less popular as a result of how people feel about them.
The process of giving meaning to a specific organization, company, product, or service by developing and formulating a brand in consumers' minds is known as branding. It is a marketing technique that companies use to help customers quickly identify and experience their brand while also providing them with a cause to choose their goods over those of the competition. It explains what this specific company is and is not.
How to do branding?
According to Kotler and Keller (2015), different tools are utilized by businesses to develop and shape a brand. Branding, for example, maybe accomplished using the following methods:
Brand definition: purpose, values, promise
Brand positioning statement
Brand identity: name, tone of voice, visual identity design (which includes the logo design, color palette, typographies…)
Advertising and communications: TV, radio, magazines, outdoor ads, website, mobile apps…
Sponsoring and partnerships
Product and packaging design
Workspace experience and management style
In our case of branding water, packaging design, and advertising are perhaps the most powerful marketing tools:
1) Packaging design
An intriguing case is Fiji Water, which was able to create a bottle design that perfectly reflected the company's values: purity is expressed through transparency effects, and nature is represented by tropical flowers and leaves in the background.
Advertising is a highly visual, narrative tool that may be used to construct and define a brand universe. The following are some examples of branding water from advertising:
Evian makes you feel young.
Perrier is refreshing, bubbling, and sexy.
Fiji Water is pure, healthy, and natural.
If you don't have a marketing strategy that drives sales, then it is time to consider branding. This will help your company stand out from the competition and form an emotional connection with consumers by using logos, slogans, colors, sounds, and other elements of design in order to create brand recognition.
Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2015). Marketing Management, Global Edition. England: Pearson Education Limited. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=o5YZCgAAQBAJ
Aaker, D. (2014). Aaker on Branding: 20 Principles That Drive Success. Morgan James Publishing. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=Bu3YAgAAQBAJ