Benefits of a Branding Makeover
Branding is more than just a logo or typeface that makes your company recognizable. It should be the first thing a customer recognizes about your company, whether they are on your website, viewing social media posts or walking into your storefront. However, every company must remember that branding is an ever-changing process that sometimes needs tweaking. Demographics and industries change over time, so it is important to remember that your branding must change as well. The key is knowing when it is time to change your branding and some important things to remember before you make a change.
If your company is making major changes to structure, such as replacing the board of directors or leadership wants to take the company in a new direction, you should consider rebranding. For example, a restaurant known to offer only rich foods whose leadership is planning to completely change the menu to only offer healthy options would want different branding. You may still want to keep the same logo, but change it slightly for differentiation. The same is true if your industry is undergoing major changes. In order to make your company fit the new vision of the industry, you may want to rebrand your company to reflect those changes.
Take a look at the branding used by competitors. If their website, signage or other advertising looks more professional and attractive, you may want to consider rebranding. It is important not to create branding exactly the same as your competitor, but their logo could give you ideas for a fresh look. Of course, rebranding does not necessarily mean you must completely overhaul your logo and advertising. You could simply rebrand the services you offer, such as free shipping or free delivery, then use branding to promote the new services in order to stand out from the competition.
Before you branded your company, you should have determined the target market you were trying to reach. Your target market determines your marketing plan, branding and many other factors related to promoting your company. If you did not develop a target market, or if your advertising does not seem to be reaching the right audience, it may be time to consider rebranding to better appeal to the right market. Branding agencies can help you identify a target market and rework your brand so that it reaches that market effectively.
The most important thing to remember about branding is to remain consistent, even when you are making changes to the brand. Your business cards and the banner on your website should look similar as should all signage in your brick-and-mortar business. By keeping the brand consistent, customers get the impression the service you offer is also consistent, making them more likely to purchase from you. Inconsistent branding causes confusion and gives an unprofessional appearance.
Consistent, professional branding is critical to your marketing efforts, but it is also important to remember that branding needs to be monitored and adjusted as necessary. Review your marketing efforts to determine how effective they are and to be sure you are using consistent branding throughout.
What is the Return on Investment (ROI) of Branding?
Why is branding an important part of establishing an organization? To answer this question, a Dutch agency represented by the Kingdom of Netherland’s Embassy in India were invited by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to be part of a seminar about Return on Investment (ROI) in Branding.
Importance of Branding
The main purpose of this collaboration was to educate Indian organizations about the importance of branding. H.E. Alphonsus Stoelinga, the Ambassador to India from the Kingdom of Netherlands explained that branding plays an important role in shaping any organization. It helps the company gain recognition from diverse customer groups on various platforms.
The Ambassador further explained that the brand of a company is their national and international identity. To demonstrate this better, he explained that if your company has an established brand name, people all around are going to know a lot about you, even before meeting you. Therefore, if your brand is powerful enough, your road to success will be effortless.
The Fault in One Country’s Approach to Branding
Founder and CEO of Brand Dialogue, Willem Woudenberg directly addressed the faults of Indian brands. He stated that in India, people don’t see much of a difference between advertising and branding and often end up mixing the two different concepts.
Woudenberg said that, branding in India is considered to be a part of sales and is approached as a short-term aim. He says that despite the fact that major Indian brands receive massive national recognition, they have minimal international recognition and that their branding strategy is at fault for this problem.
Advantages of Branding
A crisp and clear branding strategy provides multiple benefits for an organization.
- It helps the organization gain recognition amongst consumer groups. Since consumers have a psychological tendency to purchase products from familiar names, perfect branding helps the organization become a trusted name.
- In today’s extremely competitive world, branding sets your organization apart from the other competitors in the market. Your branding strategy should be such that it sets you apart from the million others on a global platform.
- The right branding strategy is an excellent way to promote the DNA of your organization. It helps consumers understand what your business is about, how is it different from others and why you should pick it, instead of the million others in the market.
- Other benefits of branding are that it informs a customer about your products, creates a trusted relationship between the buyer and seller and most importantly, clearly explains your business value.
Talks on Branding by Established Businessmen
All these factors were discussed at the importance of RIO in Branding seminar by businessmen like Paul Stork, Director of Fabrique, who spoke about the importance of design in branding, Loe Limpens, partner and Chief Creative Officer of Yellow Dress Retail who spoke about private label branding, and Rik Riezenbos, who demonstrated the importance of ‘Branding as a Function of Positioning’.
Note-worthy Foreign Speakers and Brands Present
A number of established Indian businessmen joined their Dutch partners to speak about RIO in branding. CEO of Brands of Desire, Saurabh Uboweja, spoke from India’s perspective and stated that the country needs to move from an uncertain to a revolutionary approach on branding. Director of Wolf Olins FZ LLC, Zia Patel, discussed that brands can be strengthened with assistance from different management parts.
Other notable members present were Head of Retail and FMCG Division at FICCI, Shilpa Gupta and Rajiv Batra, group-head of Corporate Affairs at Hindustan Unilever Limited. Some of the notable brands present were JTC Tea, Benetton India, GMR and SRL among others at this seminar on understanding the RIO of Branding.
The Human Touch to Branding
Every organization must have a branding strategy. According to Aytm, branding should include a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand, which will help the organization to achieve its goals. The plan must have a well-defined execution strategy and will affect all aspects of a business. That means every branding strategy must be connected to the emotions, needs and aspirations of customers and must take into consideration the competitive environments.
For many people, branding encompasses a company’s logo, the reputation of the business, statements made by the company, how the company interacts with its customers and business partners along with the visuals and the tagline of the company. All these things coalesce to form a company brand.
Of utmost importance is the question of the human touch to branding. What many people keep forgetting is that branding is essentially a collection to the feelings others have towards your business — from the way your customer relation officers greet their customers on the phone or in social media messages and how customers are treated whenever they raise issues. In short, these are the real things that make customers buy from your company and not just because you sell a good product. Anyone can do that.
If branding is a collection of feelings, then it definitely means that there is more to it than all the tech and advertising that many organizations pursue in the name of branding. In other words, they place their premium on technology instead of placing it on people. What companies need to do is to strive to show deep respect for human beings outside and inside the company as well as for the communities in which they live. Instead of concentrating on ‘hi-tech’, companies should concentrate on the concept of ‘high-touch’. It is better to invest in the ‘touchy-ness’ of the business than in the ‘techy-ness’ of the brand. Every company must ensure that there is a human touch in their branding strategy. Here are some ways companies can leverage on human touch in their branding strategies:
Brands Need to Listen
Research has consistently shown that the most successful brands are those that listen to the world around them. Companies need to design their products and solutions around the needs of their clients. The need to form a good rapport and have quality interaction with customers cannot be overemphasized here. This can be seen in social media where successful brands are interacting with their clients. For instance, customer questions should be answered, suggestions responded to and their complaints attended to. Brands need to be not only friendly, but show they care about the communities around them.
Long gone are the days when people used to think that being hospitable and friendly to customers was a preserve of the hospitality industry. Things are changing fast. A variety of industries are borrowing a leaf from the tourism and hospitality sector and the idea of improving customer service is becoming a necessity if they are to compete. Whichever industry you are, you need to ensure that you provide highly personalized services and convenience for the customers with the availability of customer services on a 24/7 basis.
Circle of Friends
It is true that most companies rely on brokers, retailers, agents or dealers to do business. These should not just be seen as tools to promote your business. They should be treated as friends of the company. If you treat your friends well, they will be good brand ambassadors of the business. Even your employees can be great ambassadors of the company if you respect and value them.
It therefore seems that the best approach for companies in terms of branding is simply to be more human. Brands need to act like people; more so, they need to place themselves in the shoes of their customers.
Branding Versus Advertising:
How Different are the Two?
What is the difference between branding and advertising? You would be surprised by the number of marketers who do not really comprehend the difference. Both concepts are constituted in marketing and have the ability to impact each other. Differentiating between the two will boost your marketing strategy, as well as your brand.
Branding is all about your identity. Who are you? What business do you do? Why should I remember your name? How do I feel about your brand? Though the answers to these queries should obviously relate to your products and services, they should not be limited to them. Your brand is like a person with a personality. For instance, when somebody talks of Apple’s iPod, most people think beyond just a product to buy. People identify with its exuberant size, vibrant color and active youthful silhouette.
Communicating Your Brand Identity
Logo & Name:
These are the very first virtual representations of your business that people encounter. While brand recognition entails these two, brand building goes further to focus on what people think and feel when they encounter your name and logo.
What comes to mind when you remember Starbucks? Cozy seating, wood-paneled décor, and enthralling coffee smell? Similarly, a thought of McDonalds clouds your mind with bright colors and lights, engrossing play areas, a whimsical-looking clown, etc. What would you want to go through your customers’ minds when they think of your business’ environment and décor? Strive to achieve exactly that!
Consider what kind of image you would want your business to portray beyond your commercial responsibilities. Do you care about the environment? Do your employees just relax and watch TV during down time or engage in CSR activities around your locality? Have you given any donations to a cause or engaged in a fundraising?
What kind of working conditions do you subject your employees to? Are your policies and business culture staff-friendly? Remember that your employees also make up a crucial part of your company’s brand. If they feel dispirited or mistreated, they can be a source of massive negative brand publicity for your business.
While the bond between your customer and your business starts and ends with its brand, an ideal customer is one who buys from you not only because they are in need of your product or service, but also because they have a desire to see your brand grow. Know who these customers are and keep them happy.
To advertise means to communicate to your customers what you have for them via sales, radio and TV ads, coupons, and posters. When you advertise, what you are looking for is to meet and benefit from your ideal customer.
Advertising, Branding & Trust
In understanding this, let us consider a personal relationship where your brand equals you; your product equals a cup of coffee, and your customer equals your friend:
Scenario A: You have a cup of coffee that you would like your friend to buy, so you contact them and request that they come over and make the purchase. It is highly probable that your friend is going to feel that your only interest was in selling and do not actually care about them. You are putting the product and expected profits ahead of your mutual relationship. An honest brand relationship is missing here.
Scenario B: You request your friend to come over to your place for a cup of coffee since you would like to have a conversation with them and enjoy some good time together. Here, your relationship comes before your product. You are genuine as a brand.
In conclusion, all we are saying is that you should consider all the options you have in ensuring your brand means more than name and logo design, colors or jingle, to your consumers. Know your ideal customer and provide what they are looking for. This way, your brand will be able to create a long-term following of loyal customers.