Branding for Businesses in Content Marketing is often just looked at myopically – from the point of view of its effect on customers. But did you realize that strong brands are a hugely protective insurance for the businesses and the businesspeople that own these brands? Brands can save businesses in downturns!
If you are reading this article, chances are that you are in some way concerned about how concepts like Content Branding & Design can strengthen your success probabilities. You may not yet have a brand, and you may be considering what branding can do for your business idea. It’s also possible that you may already have a brand that’s not doing so well, and you may be revisiting this whole idea of branding and asking yourself: “What should branding be doing for me? What is the real value of branding? What should I be expecting and getting from good branding?” Read on because you’re sure to get some answers here …
2 ways branding can help you build your business recognition
1. Brands build name awareness:
This is one of the most well-understood benefits of branding – that brand names help build awareness of your product and make it stand out distinctly in the market. It’s common knowledge again that having a good brand name creates a better impression on the customer than just being a generic product.
The consumer tends to associate certain additional qualities and attributes to a brand which he does not to a mere commodity. For instance, if you sold a no-name brand of cereal in transparent packaging, versus if you sold the same cereal by a brand name in a distinct brand packaging, why does the consumer believe the latter to be more hygienic, scientifically produced, and to be of better quality?/p>
Even if a business does not overtly say all these things to a consumer, the consumer himself attributes “quality” values to a branded item. As the next step, the business then has to say why their brand is better than another brand, but even if you did not position yourself against other brands at all, there is value already in just naming a brand and packaging it over selling any generic item.
Having a distinct name makes it easier to recognize a person by that label. But while you understand this elementary principle, there’s one more factor to consider. New businesses that are trying to think up good brand names are going to find themselves having to invent “coined names” because there are already almost three million trademarks registered in the U.S. alone. Further almost 99% of all the words in the English dictionary have been taken up as domain names for websites.
Now if the only option left is to “coin a brand name” then you have to consider the costs of having to promote something that’s never been heard of! That a lot harder than making people aware of a word they think they know and recognize! So awareness building with a good brand name is not a cake-walk anymore because of the paucity of names that make sense already to the public!
2. Brands power personal and business success:
We’ve seen lots of cases where important faces of businessmen and businesswomen represent part of the mystique of their brands. Richard Branson is Virgin. Steve Jobs was Apple.
There has always been a debate, though, on whether a person should be so tied to the brand’s image that if that person were replaced the brand would suffer. Has Apple suffered a lot after the death of Steve Jobs? I think the jury is still out on whether Steve built Apple to be far bigger than himself.
In many businesses the question of succession of the topmost man or woman becomes a hot issue if the leader’s face is too closely tied to the trust factor and personality of his brand. Some brands become larger than their founders and the founders are barely remembered. Some brands always stay smaller than their founders and the founders are always remembered as the face of the brand even after their deaths (i.e. J. L. Kraft). And some brands are so independent of their owners and founders that we barely know who they are.
But it pays to remember that during the lifetime of the brand-founder, the brand is a financial asset not just to his company but also to him personally. Some brands are so powerful and exciting that they make their founders into “people-brands” as well.
2 ways branding can help you build your business message
3. Brands simplify complex messages:
This is again an easily understood concept, that brands simplify complex messages … but the really crucial thing to watch is what happens to the brand in the implementation of its messages.
We have all seen companies, haven’t we, which spend loads of dollars trying to fix exactly what a brand should mean to its customers. What messages should the brand convey to its customers? What is the logo a short form for? When people see the brand even for a second, what are the many layers of messages that float into the mind of the customer?
For instance does seeing a brand of cosmetic soap automatically trigger layers of messages of first skin softness, and then personal confidence and then social acceptability?
Now after businesses fix all these cues into a brand and try to emanate these messages, they have to watch what is happening simultaneously on all the channels from where the message is going out. Are all these channels of messaging – social, TV, content marketing, the website – in synchrony or are they emitting mixed confused messages?
The very purpose behind branding – to simplify a complex set of messaging cues – can get defeated by the poor messaging implementation!
4. Brands make selling easier:
This is an obvious one. A good brand actually should sell itself faster than any salesman can sell it to a potential customer.
In fact the job of marketing and sales would then be to just ensure that the brand is visible in all the right places from where it can emit its positive signals and sell itself on its own merits. A strong brand also sells itself via word-of-mouth of satisfied customers.
So technically, the stronger a brand gets, the less work the company has to do to sell it, other than facilitation of smooth buying processes and maintaining visibility.
Building a good strong brand upfront releases the resources of the company from pushing the brand to nurturing and servicing the customer, a nobler goal.
2 ways branding can help you build your customer belief
5. Brands say something about the consumer:
One of the points that a lot of brands would love to exploit is the fact that purchasing a particular brand says a lot about the consumer – about the consumer’s intelligence in making the selection, about the consumer’s sense of personal style, about the consumer’s wallet power and about the consumer’s uniqueness and individuality.
Consumers make a lot of purchases not just because of what a brand says about itself to them, but because what buying the brand will say about them to their friends.
For instance, there has always also been this subtle “social” advantage in buying overseas brands, simply because they were difficult to buy previously and were seen as a hallmark of the owner as a globally savvy person. In these days of geographical barriers being next to nil, you would expect the “foreign brand” status-y pitch to be less, wouldn’t you … but it’s still alive and well!
6. Brands build trust:
The trust factor in a brand increasingly has to do with low attention spans of people and less time on their hands for serious shopping. People are so stretched for time living multi-tasking lives that buying online with door delivery is now becoming more and more the way to live than an option.
It has always been understood that brand names becomes symbols of trust to their consumers for the attributes of the brand as well as for the vision and mission of the companies that own them. But nowadays, trust has other implications.
Trust enables faster decision-making and readymade choices ordered for door delivery rather than wasting time on comparison shopping … and survey after survey reveals that tried and trusted brands are not even price-checked by consumers in a hurry who just pop the products into their shopping carts or click the BUY NOW button without a second thought.
Trust of a brand has become important more than before because of the shortage of time and the thinning attention to shopping, especially for regular needs and wants.
2 ways branding can help you build your business wealth
7. Brands unlock profitability:
Where does the real revenue from a brand come from for the company that owns it? It comes from two factors: “differentiation” and “longevity”.
The more differentiated a product is from its competitors the more freedom the company has to price it differently from the average brand standard of pricing. This differentiation can be a real difference in the physical product or even a psychological differentiation created in the mind of the consumer.
But differentiation is one of the keys to higher profitability for the company. The second is the “longevity of a brand”. Many brands have set life-cycles after which they either become jaded, dated or out of sync with the evolving tastes or technologies of the market. But brands that have longer lifecycles, and especially those that can survive economic downtimes and still live to tell their stories are the second key to high profitability.
The longer a brand lives and thrives, the lesser and lesser becomes the expense to maintain its market momentum. If a brand survives over time, all that was spent to launch and keep it going can be viewed as an investment with long term returns and not as an expense with short-term bursts of gain.
8. Brands build equity:
Okay, this is a very interesting concept – this concept of “brand equity”. Even till about a decade ago, a brand’s “equity” used to be referred to as a qualitative thing, and it was seen as “goodwill earned”! Nowadays a brand’s equity is measured as a number, a value … and it is added to the balance sheets of a company as an “asset”.
There are many ways people calculate brand equity – and part of the fun is seeing the pundits ranged against each other on how best this should be done. But just to give you an idea, one popular method of measuring “brand equity” has been designed by David Aaker, the renowned brand expert.
In Aaker’s model, several variables of a brand are quantified and then totalled as the “dollar value” of the brand – which can then be added to the financial statements of the company. Needless to say, if the business ever thinks of selling itself, or raising loans or venture funding, the equity of the brand will boost its financials a good deal. If the brand is as yet at an early stage of its lifecycle, then its “potential to multiply its equity” will also be factored in dollars!
It’s always a very rewarding moment for an entrepreneur to see the day when his brand enters his financial statements as the biggest asset of his company!
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Branding & Design”:
- Designing A Knockout Brand Identity For Your Solopreneur Business!
- Designing A Solopreneur Website To Look Like A Million Bucks!
- What’s In A Brand Name? For Your Solopreneur Business, It’s Everything!
- The Right Brand Strategy Can Help Your Content Marketing Nail It!
- Your Maverick Factor Must Underpin Your Solopreneur Brand Strategy!