BRANDING IS IN
The stories a brand tells about itself are fundamental
It is a magic word today. It solves every problem. We will brand your car, hair salon, office, district, town, destination, etc.
It seems sometimes that the more we use some word, the less we understand it and its meaning diminishes. It is as if we want to substitute this lack of understanding by using it more frequently.
Some words are in, the same as colours, clothes, suits, smartphones, watches, cars, restaurants, hotels and destinations.
The benefits used to be trendy until recently. We were so much smarter, stronger and more modern when we were constantly talking about benefits :)
What’s trending today is branding! The response of those who always know everything, and this doesn’t only include politicians, to every marketing problem is – branding! ‘Develop a new brand’, advertise it strongly and success is guaranteed.
No, it’s not!
Branding is the most complex activity in the corpus of business and marketing activities, as it deals with the social psychology, attitudes and opinions of people. Benefits and promises, norms and values, perceptions and programmes, identity and self-expression, emotions and love are the driving forces of human behaviour. They guide their actions in the market. The brands that both understand and apply this in their business activities are the winning brands, they are the ones that people love and buy.
The development of logos, trademarks and slogans is the least important activity in the branding business, as it is perhaps not even necessary to redesign a logo or create a (new) slogan. There is no logo that can itself boost sales. The development of a new or the redesigning of the existing visual identity of a brand is preceded by much more important activities involving the evaluation of the brand, the process of developing a competitive identity – which is what makes certain brands distinct and unforgettable.
Essentially, branding reduces something that is chaotic, complex and contradictory to something that is simple, memorable and potent - the promise of an experience anticipated by a potential buyer.
It is therefore of key importance for a company to understand its target audience, in order to be able to develop a dynamic relationship with the most valuable groups of consumers. As long as a brand doesn’t have any emotional relationship with its potential buyers, it will find it difficult to gain a foothold in their imagination and be persuasive in projecting its promise.
The stories a brand tells about itself to its main audiences are fundamental, as they breathe life into the brand. These stories cannot be ‘fairytales,’ they need to be based on facts and inspire imagination, rather than to simply describe a product.
In order to attract the consumers, a brand must (1) give them a reason to buy it and (2) demonstrate how it is different from all the others. Without this, it will not be seen as special and worth buying.
This process of the differentiation of one product from all others is branding.