Well-known brands bring the maximum amount of returns to companies that own them. Hence, brands need proper care and attention. Companies that know how to manage their brands will always perform better than those who do not
A brand is not just the name of a product; it is much more than that. The brand reflects the company culture, the values the company stands for, the value it gives to its customers and all these have a profound influence on the consumer’s decision making. Going back to our earlier example, consumers perceive Mercedes as the most luxurious vehicle that enhances their status in the society. It’s all in the mind. Hence understanding the psyche of the target consumer is vital while creating brands. Having said so, it is not that easy to create and build a brand. It may take a year, a decade, or even generations to build a successful brand. Sometimes brands just disappear even before making their mark.
Well, then how do you create successful brands? Before embarking on creating one, there are certain things we need to understand better like, firstly, the word ‘brand’ itself? A brand is a distinctive identity that differentiates a relevant, enduring and credible promise of value associated with a product, service or organization and indicates the source of that promise. The promise must be tangible and predictably manifested in a company’s business behavior and, ultimately in its products and services.
Second is ‘logo’. Customers have a tendency to interpret a logo on the product as the brand. It is not correct. Logo is just a symbol that supports the brand. The distinctive identity exists in the physical world as a system of symbols, but a brand is more than just a logo. It lives in the minds of customers and employees as a set of associations and emotional meanings. It is the nature of this latter psychological component that makes branding important to a business. The consistent reinforcement of the logo can help build a brand as customers make their decisions on what they believe and how they feel about what they believe. Organizations would do better if they understand that brand is a consistent, holistic business promise, which if not delivered would be disastrous for them.
Organisations need brands to sell their products. Without them, they cannot do any business. So, the importance of brands can very well be understood. Also, brands are not created out of the air. They need a lot of planning and execution. There are three important elements involved in building a brand.
The brand’s personality: Create a character or personality for the company, the product or service. Just as you would for a real person, based on that person’s reputation, attitudes and behavior. And if your service is not all that different from the guy down the street, or the product on the shelf below, then it’s the personality of the brand that creates a distinction, a point of differentiation, a reason for people to buy it.
The relationship the brand has with the audience: Build a relationship with your target market based on that personality. Do this over time, using advertising in addition to all other communications, including the way employees are trained to interact with customers.
Visual icons, symbols or other representations of the brand such as the logo: Reinforce the relationship and trigger recognition with consistent visual symbols.
These symbols can include everything from a color scheme and logo to an imaginary character, or even the president of the company. The right choice of visual images, words and media are needed to send the message effectively to the target segment. Unfortunately, most of the organizations do not pay enough attention to this aspect.
Brand creation is not the end, it only starts the process of an eventful journey. A journey during which one can witness the now familiar ‘brand wars’. How well one manages this journey and fares in the brand war decides the fate of the brand. Needless to say, the better-managed brands perform better in the market and reign in the customer’s mind.