What does branding mean to you? The Business Dictionary defines branding like this:
The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ 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.
That’s all well and good but branding doesn’t just relate to businesses. Celebrities represent their own brands and with the rise in social media influencers, branding also relates to regular individuals like you and me.
What makes a brand?
Branding includes a name, mission statment, logo, fonts and colours but it is also more than that. It is the perception someone holds in their head about your business or you as an individual. Branding is about building recognition and reputation.
Your brand needs to be distinctive, recognisable and unique to set you apart from your competitors. As an individual, you brand will develop from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
Many brands can be identified by their slogans or jingles. Supermarket chains are no exception. Even before you hear the brand name, the following supermarket chains are easily identifiable:
‘Every little helps.’
‘That’s why mum’s go to…’
‘This isn’t just any…’
‘Live well for less.’
If you were unsure, the above slogans belong to Tesco, Iceland, Marks and Spencer’s and Sainsbury’s respectively. All sell groceries amongst other things. So how can they stand out? Their slogans are worded in a way that tells the consumer what to expect. For example, Tesco, Iceland and Sainsbury’s are trying to let you know that they are thinking of your pocket, whilst Mark’s and Spencer’s is appealing to shoppers who appreciate high end products and are willing to pay that little bit extra. These chains know their target market.
So, when thinking about your branding you need to have a thorough understanding of the demographics of your target market, what their interests are, and how to communicate with them.
Regardless of what people say, nobody really likes change so your brand needs to be consistent to maintain your market share or audience. This means your customer service, as well as your goods and services, should be unfailing. When customers come back to you for repeat sales, or visit your website, they usually expect to receive the same level of quality as they did the first time. Anything less will change a customer’s perception of your brand.