Branding is the action of managing a brand strategy.
Nowadays, having a brand strategy is considered one of the most important for companies and entrepreneurs who wish to create memorable businesses and truly add value for their customers.
Most brands use branding to gain more attention and affection from consumers, creating real fans and generating recognition and respect around the world.
Do you know that feeling of closeness with a brand, which goes beyond the product it offers?
If you’re having a hard time thinking of one of these brands, here are a few examples: Nike, Netflix, and Coca-Cola. You might not even consume their products, but you can’t deny that these brands are points of reference.
Would you like to learn more about how branding works, and how to apply this strategy so your brand can also become a point of reference in your market? Keep reading, we’ll explain everything in this post!
What is branding?
As you saw earlier, the general definition we can assign to branding are the actions to manage a brand strategy. However, many authors have taken the concept of this important strategy to new levels.
Some experts point out that branding actions are designed to make brands a part of a culture in such a way that they influence people, creating an impact beyond the economic factor.
Within these definitions, brands are key to corporate strategies. With branding, the brand must carry symbolism that goes beyond its graphic representation.
Therefore, branding is the sum of efforts to build an idea that the company’s wish to convey in people’s imagination. In addition to this, it’s the duty of making this ideal as fulfilled in all areas of the company’s business.
Whether during the sale of the product, in the communication with the customer, or even in internal actions, branding must be unified and be visible in all of these parts.
Obviously, doing this kind of work isn’t easy. It’s actually a detailed list of things a company is committed to, which is capable of generating incredibly positive results for any business, especially in the long term.
Despite being laborious, it is possible and you can start applying it at any time.
Below, we will show you important concepts related to branding. Keep reading!
Brand vs logo vs slogan
It’s very common to get these concepts mixed up. However, they have major differences and understanding them is extremely important in order to achieve good brand strategy in your business.
Brand: a symbolic representation of the company, i.e., what comes to mind when you hear a company’s name. It’s the combination of what the company says and what you imagine of it.
Logo: the graphic representation of the company, i.e., the visual or written design.
Slogan: that catchphrase, widely used in commercials, and also known as the company’s tagline.
To help you understand this better, let’s go back to the examples we mentioned earlier:
Nike’s brand strategy
Slogan: Just do it.
Brand: Early on, the company changed the way running shoes were made and perceived. Despite becoming one of the largest clothing and sports accessory providers in history, they’ve tried hard to keep the brand seen as a rebel that goes against the flow but gets the job done. Whether it’s using the Beatles song ‘Revolution’ in the 80s or using controversial sports figures like Colin Kaepernick, Nike puts great effort into being portrayed as unconventional.
Netflix brand strategy
Slogan: See what’s next.
Brand: Netflix sees itself as the main internet entertainment service in the world. In people’s imagination, it’s common that they remember it when they talk about series and movies online and its enormous impact on social media worldwide.
Coca-Cola’s brand strategy
Slogan: Taste the feeling.
Brand: The company considers itself the largest producer of non-alcoholic beverages in the world, which operates in nine segments. Beyond this definition and the descriptions about its mission and values, it’s part of people’s imagination. We can say that we think about its soft drink, its Christmas campaigns and the brand’s major advertising efforts, which is always present in several sponsorships as well.
This is another important concept you should know in order to practice brand strategy with quality.
Brand equity represents the value added to an organization by its “brand strength”.
This the main goal to be achieved with branding. In order for a company to be considered as owning strong brand equity, it must practice what it says and be perceived by the public as doing so.
By now, you have probably realized the importance of brand strategy. Among other things, we can emphasize that a branding:
- Generates recognition
- Increases the business’s value (symbolically and financially)
- Attracts new customers
- Creates fans and promoters of the brand
- Improves customer satisfaction
- Improves employee satisfaction
- Adds a sense of trust
- Supports marketing actions.
Branding activities are able to provide many advantages.
But where should I start? What should I do? What should I change?
We’ll take a look at all of this right now!
Branding is a set of actions; therefore, there’s no readymade formula of what works or not, but rather a set of practices and tips of what can be followed. The outcome depends greatly on how committed the company is to this strategy.
Therefore, it’s important to know that you’ll need a team or specific person to handle your brand strategy and continuously monitor the application branding activities, okay?
So, let’s check out the main branding practices!
Purpose, values, mission, and vision
Before you do anything, you need to plan. This is when you decide the brand’s purpose, values, mission and vision.
One of the concepts that can help you plan is the golden circle, which refers to a direction for the business based on three questions:
Purpose: Is the reason for the existence of the business and can be defined based on the following question: “Why do we exist?”
Values: Will guide the actions and can be found by answering another question: “How do we want to fulfill our purpose?”
Mission: Is the foundation of the purpose, what in fact the company does, in order to put it into practice. And the question to be answered is, “What do we do to fulfill our purpose?”
For the vision, the question you should ask is, “Where do we want to go?” Justifying what your brand wishes to achieve.
After you define this, it’s important to document and even display it on the institutional part of your website. Thus, your audience can get to know your company’s proposals and commitments.
Check out the example of international beverage giant AB InBev. It presents a brief text on its website that summarizes these four definitions.
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Culture exists in all societies and all social groups. Normally, there is also the culture within a company.
In order to practice branding, a company’s culture must be well known and be documented so that people will know how to act and so the company can always position itself accordingly.
Thus, organizational culture is the definition of beliefs, behaviors, values, pillars, and goals that characterize the company and the brand.
Part of the definition of organizational culture is made up of the purpose, values, mission, and vision, as we’ve seen earlier.
The other part refers to putting these questions into practice by means of internal and external relationships, the communication and the brand’s positioning.
We mentioned brand positioning, but do you know what it is?
This is also an important branding action and refers to generating value based on the definitions we mentioned earlier, with the purpose of being unique and standing out from the competition.
In order to have good positioning, your brand needs to be clear, transparent and deliver innovative, relevant, and quality products or services.
We all have a personal identity, and a brand strategy must also have one too. This is what will characterize it.
When we talk about identity, the following question comes to mind, “Who are we?” And also, the concept of visual identity, right?
And this is basically what makes up the organizational identity. A definition of the company and the statement that provides uniformity to the brand and allows it to be recognized even without mentioning its name.
How about a quiz? Pick the correct brand according to the image!
If you answered Burger King for the first image, you’re correct!
If you answered Google for the second image, congratulations!
The last image was Apple. Did you guess correctly?
Can you see how colors, fonts, contextual characteristics, and style can say so much about a brand?
Thus, among the branding actions, you should pay a lot of attention to these details.
We hope that these practices and tips can help you make your brand memorable!
As we said earlier, this is a never-ending and highly detailed effort, but it’s worth it.
If you are wondering how branding relates to digital marketing, it relates to everything!
A branding strategy is designed precisely to support actions related to your brand, as is the case of marketing. Below, we present a few tips on branding, to be applied specifically to digital marketing:
- Creation of the brand’s persona: The brand’s persona is like the brand’s personality. It represents the personification of the values and identity, and will be the foundation for all company communications.
- Organize your feed: It might seem silly, but this practice makes all the difference when building your brand’s strength. Your audience has to identify your company easily on any communication channel. This reinforces the identity.
- Personalized and empathetic service: This attitude affirms your company’s concern with your customers and helps bring them closer, delights, and retains them. Be thoughtful, reply to all comments on social media, and offer an efficient support service.