A Brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising.
You can consider a brand as the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about specific products, services and activities of a company, both in a practical (e.g. “the shoe is light-weight”) and emotional way (e.g. “the shoe makes me feel powerful”). It is therefore not just the physical features that create a brand but also the feelings that consumers develop towards the company or its product. This combination of physical and emotional cues is triggered when exposed to the name, the logo, the visual identity, or even the message communicated.
A product can be easily copied by other players in a market, but a brand will always be unique. For example, Pepsi and Coca-Cola taste very similar, however for some reason, some people feel more connected to Coca-Cola, others to Pepsi.
Why is Branding important?
First and foremost, a unique brand can have a huge impact on your business by giving you a competitive advantage over your rivals and helping you acquire and retain customers at a much lower cost.
In eCommerce, where new businesses (and therefore, new competitors) are springing up every day, an established brand can be an invaluable asset in bringing customers back time after time and generating profit. Regardless of whether you’re investing time and effort into crafting a compelling brand or paying no attention to it whatsoever, your business still has a brand, however, it may be completely different to how you intended to be seen.
By carefully constructing your brand through stories, relationships, marketing messages and visual assets, you have the opportunity of shaping your customers’ expectations for your business and creating a unique bond that goes beyond the buying-selling relationship.
Brands that manage to take a step further and establish a special, long-term emotional connection with their customers become lovemarks. Essentially, lovemarks draw on three key elements: mystery, sensuality, and intimacy. Mystery is infused by tapping into dreams and the powers of inspiration, building on the value of icons and myths, and exploring the ideas of past, present and future. Sensuality relies on the five senses to locate touchpoints with consumers, whereas intimacy is achieved through empathy, passion, and commitment. Transitioning from a strong brand to a lovemark can have a tremendous impact on your business, as you not only create customers for life, but they also become your greatest evangelists, promoting your products/services and driving continuous sales for you.
Good branding is strategic, while marketing is tactical. When you establish the higher objectives and clearly define your brand promise, you can start crafting a marketing plan that’s geared towards achieving those goals.