By Bob Lytle, Account Supervisor
Understanding the value of a well-respected brand is easy… identifying what makes up a solid brand is a completely different challenge. As a follow-up to the previously published Fostering Ideas article, “Branding Basics: If You Think Your Brand is Just Your Logo, Think Again,” we shed some light on the many components that influence branding.
Brand Identity Components
A brand is created in the mind of the user. While most companies and products can become quickly outdated, a brand can stay forever young with an enduring sense of quality and credibility. Note: An identity is what a company creates; an image (brand perception) is what the public creates.
Brand values are what a brand stands for, what it truly is and its justification for existing when there are so many other similar products or options in the marketplace.
A brand personality describes how the brand relates and communicates to its market and consumers. Just as people build relationships with each other, so does a brand’s personality build relationships with people (i.e., customers and influencers). A person’s personality is affected by nearly everything associated with that person — so too, is a brand’s personality.
The visual identity of the brand is the recognizable physical form with which the brand distinguishes itself from others. The brand’s visual identity is expressed by a logo, colors, design features, packaging, trademarks and other elements that connote a feeling.
Brand as Company
Brands struggle to find points of differentiation. A variety of characteristics may be used as elements that differentiate vision, talent, products, innovations and processes from competitors. Culture and values, people, loyalty, community, market success and other attributes are powerful factors that will contribute to how clients and prospects will value the brand and the promises for which it stands.
Brand as Technology
Current and prospective customers may be familiar with the benefits of a well-run company and its technologies; however, the true benefits of the branding process are to help move customers and prospects from experiencing a sense of discomfort in the initial stages of a search for the right product or company to a sense of satisfaction and joy at the conclusion. So, brands that relate a sense of comfort and trust through the different decision stages — from research to purchase — transcend beyond price once the prospective buyer understands that the technology is going to deliver the desired result.
By expressing technology in human terms, the brand identity can enhance and motivate preference and encourage peace of mind among customers and prospects.
Brand as Product
No other aspect of business better personifies a brand than the actual product. While customers may forgive almost all aspects of what a company “is,” they will never forget an impaired product. A strong brand will help offset the natural tendency to be concerned after the purchase.
Brand as Buyer
The most critical aspect of the creation of a brand is the customer perception of and relationship with the product and company. A brand will not be successful unless its focus is first driven and defined in the terms of the buyer and user experience.
Considering all of this, starting with a careful quantitative analysis of buyers, users and influencers is a sure way to launch your branding efforts. Stay tuned for the upcoming Fostering Ideas article on “Market Research: Informing Your Brand.”
Did You Miss Our Last Branding Article?
Read “Branding Basics: If You Think Your Brand is Just Your Logo, Think Again” where we covered what a brand is; maintaining a strong brand; and why you should care.