Everyone knows the biggest brand names, but few understand the importance of building a brand for their own company. Sure, offering a great product at a competitive price is a key component of a successful business, but it is not the only step. Taking the time and money to really build a brand consumers recognize will ensure your success and give you the support to last through the ups and downs.
What is Branding?
Branding is the process of forming memories, emotions and relationships between your brand and the consumer. In the short term, it is about a brand name, or what the customer thinks when they hear your brand’s name. In the long term, it is about how you define that name, your values, and the benefit your brand delivers. Branding is the reason customers chose to, or chose not to purchase your product.
A product alone is just one dimensional: it serves a functional purpose, not an emotional one. That is where your brand comes in. Brands can inspire, relate, and create a following that outlives the physical product. People do not have relationships with products or services — they have relationships with brands. If you can build a brand that your customers have a relationship with, you will have customers for a lifetime.
Why Brand Matters
Think about the world today. There are hundreds of thousands of options when a consumer is shopping for a product, especially on a global scale. Consumers are going to chose the name they recognize — the name they associate as the best. If your brand is not among the few that come to mind, you’re out of the running — even if you have the best product.
Creating a brand that consumers connect with provides you with a solid following that keeps you afloat in rough times. Whether it is a slow economic period or a downturn in your industry, if you have loyal customers that include your brand in their lifestyle, you will survive. Think about Coca-Cola: more and more states are implementing taxes on soft drinks, and sales in the carbonated drink industry are declining. However, Coca-Cola is still soaring above their competition because they have built such a strong brand and have a dedicated following. There will always be a customer base for Coca-Cola because they are such an influential brand.
A great brand also gives you more freedom. With a brand that customers lust after, you can charge more for your product then the competitor because customers are willing to pay for the name. You also have more of a “cushion” to try out new products or ideas because you have loyal customers that will stick around.
So strive to be more than just another great product, be a brand your customer can’t live without!