Branding is that simple word that has a zillion meaning.
In fact, almost everyone knows what branding means. Although, they might be well unable to define it.
The truth is, there are so many definitions of a brand, branding or whatever you call it.
David Aaker the author of Managing Brand Equity says ‘a brand is a distinguishing name or symbol such as a logo, trademark, or a package design intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate their goods and services from those of competitors.’
In his book, Emotional Branding, Daryl Davis says ‘a brand is a covenant of goodness with its users.’
These definitions are valid, and I agree with them. But I particularly like how Duane Knapp put it.
He said, ‘a brand is the internalized sum of all impressions received by costumers and consumers resulting in a distinctive position in their ‘mind’s eye’ based on perceived emotional and functional benefits.‘
Later on, I will tell you why I like Knapp’s version. Yet, I like to think that branding is a mark of difference, that is, being rightly different.
”Branding is a mark of difference, that is, being rightly different.”
The reality is, we all are brand struck whether we think so or not, we rely on brands to make our buying decisions. If not so, why do you like that particular drink, soap, phone or even shoe brand? Why do you prefer to take Coca-cola instead of Fayrouz? By the way, not everyone likes Coke, and you might not just be a fan, but it is one of the world’s top brand. It is possible to not like the drink but you do not hate it either. Am I right? Tell me if you do.
For some, it is either an apple product or nothing. Even those who claim to be brand immune, that is not having a soft spot for any brand usually have brands they will never use. It could be because it is made in china or just because they don’t like it.
Branding is first about creating a unique value proposition or unique selling proposition as it is commonly used. Either way, branding is about being rightly different. It is owning a position of relevant differentiation in your marketplace. It is being perceived as different from competitors. Branding is having meaningful impressions in the lives of your customers.
Unfortunately, there are loads of misconceptions about branding. People think that branding is a tag line like ‘Bringing good things to life‘, or that a brand is a symbol like the Addidas logo or Nike swoosh. A brand is not the logo, tagline, shape of the product like coke bottle nor is it the popular Nokia welcome tune. These are only elements, they are created to enhance a well-designed value proposition.
A T-shirt that is 100% cotton and of the highest quality can sell for $5 or for $50. It can be sold in a deep discount retail store or a high-end prestigious boutique. How much that white T-shirt cost and where it is sold is linked to the brand name stitched inside its collar. This is due to the distinctive position held by the label name or its perceived impression of quality.
Branding benefits the business entities and the consumers at large. It protects producers and customers from competitors who could attempt to make products that will appear to be identical. Branding help businesses create a community of loyal fans. In branding, everything matters. Because it increases the financial value of any product, event, person or idea.
So, how do you integrate branding into your business to raise your value in the marketplace and grow?
You do that first, through differentiation. Remember, we live in an age of unlimited choice, so your customers need to be sure. Hence, the need to differentiate or die.
A simple way to understand differentiation is to find your meaning. What does doing business with you mean to your customers? What is the benefit of doing business with you? Are you unique or at least better than your competitors? How do your customers feel when they hear your name?
You must have answers to these questions and more. Here are at Big Field Digital, we find these answers. We help small, medium and large organizations develop their value proposition, and build the brand.
Branding is the sum of impressions, distinctive positioning, and perceived benefits. These words are the reason I like Duane Knapp’s definition.
Most importantly, be aware that this is the first part of my Branding Series. In the next episode, we will discuss Unique Selling Proposition!