Branding is defined by Business Dictionary online as, “The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer's' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
Aside from your product/ service, branding is the most important part of your business- if you have effective branding, your business has a massive edge on any of your competitors. It will stand you apart from anyone else online if you are different and memorable and will build up a major feeling of trust for your business. You are probably far more likely to purchase a product from Apple for instance, than a small tech brand you have never heard of. Apple is an extreme comparison, but you catch my drift, they are seen everywhere online, are used by billions everyday on a range of devices, and if you see the little apple logo, you will know immediately what brand it belongs to, despite apple's having nothing to do with technology.
When considering your branding, there are three questions you must ask yourself:
1. What is my plan of action?
What are your tactics moving forward with your business, what is your plan of action for your online strategy, have you any new content ideas you wish to implement? If you’re following a certain theme throughout your brand you need to plan where it is going and if it can tie in with your social media or any upcoming world events.
2. What is the brand's purpose?
What do you want out of the branding? How are you going to be engaging with your audience, are you going to be serious, funny, quirky, informative? Before you launch your brand you need to be clear on where it is going, you need a clear business plan, clear goals, and a clear vision for where you want to take your business.
3. How are we as a business going to stay consistent?
Just as important as creating your brand is staying on track and consistent to your brand, you need to keep your voice the same across all your channels- from your website copy, to your blog, to your social media platforms. You want your brand to be recognised and this will only be achieved if you’re not randomly dotting around going from fun, to informative, to boring, to a huge launch of creative content, then releasing a drab blog about an irrelevant topic.
To go back to Apple, they spend only a third of what Samsung spend on their advertising- to Samsung’s $4 billion, Apple spent $1.2 billion, according to Forbes online, “the company relies on its avid fan base more than Madison Avenue to promote its products.” Despite this, their new advert promoting the recent iPhone 6 release has pushed sales to record highs as Apple sold more than 13 million new phones in 3 days. The advert showcases normal people from around the world of all cultures, and celebrities such as Selena Gomez who is taking ‘selfies’ on the red carpet to show the phones improved camera features. The video closes with the line, “The only thing that's changed is everything,” prompting the tech geeks amongst us to crave the new technology available in the new phone.
Apple’s branding is clean, simple, and fuss free. As shown on the screen shot of their website, they have minimal information on it, whilst still being easy to navigate through the menu options at the top. They let their easily recognisable products do the talking for them and let their brand recognition and the hype around their brand and products do the talking, and selling, for them.
It has been seen over the past week from the highstreet store American Apparel filing for bankruptcy that their branding has let them down, and their lack of planning and action for their future let them get swallowed up by other fashion giants. The Drum spoke of the brand's demise, blaming it on “an inability to evolve its products alongside its alienating overtly sexualised ads have led to rapidly falling sales figures.” American Apparel failed to capitalise on their success, Bob Sheard, Managing director of branding agency FreshBritain said, “The marketing and advertising may [also] have contributed in so much as they are delivering basic product – the product has no tangible superiority over the competition and in that situation the marketing and advertising must create a clear emotional differentiator.”
If you’ve ever been bored between programmes, where ad breaks seem to run on for hours, you may have tried to guess which brand advert was playing before it was revealed to you. The brand identity comes into play here, if the brand has enough of a voice or their adverts all have a similar tone, you may be able to guess. If you see a small child running round covered in paint or mud, chances are the advert is… you guess it, Persil.
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