What do you need to know in transforming your product or business into a brand?
Now that you understand what your brand personality is, different types of brand architecture to adopt and how your branding process affects brand equity and value, we will round up our branding series with what you need to know when you are finally putting your structure together to grow your business or product into a brand. You want to build a reputable and strong brand? Look no further because we have got you covered. Building a brand may seem difficult and intimidating but after reading this, it becomes way easier. Now let’s get going.
It connects customers emotionally, because they share the same value and beliefs as the brand
It gives you an ideal platform from which to extend your offering or range.
5Steps in building a strong brand.
Start by defining your brand: defining your brand entails knowing what your business is all about, reviewing the products or services you render , pinpoint the space it covers in the market and researching the emotive and rational needs of your customers.
Dig into your current identity: A better understanding of your current brand will position you in a better way to building you brand identity and research ways of how your customers perceive your brand to be, this is will help you further in building your brand because your brand has to share your customers belief and values.
Complete your brand strategy: Strategize on where you want your brand to be and the necessary steps in achieving your aim. This entails details such as mission, purpose, Vision , brand voice, personality, logo, colour and so on.
Identify your competitors: This is a very important step in building your brand, know your competitors and what they offer, make your brand a unique identity for your customers to see the difference.
Design your individual elements: Your elements are what defines your uniqueness and this include colour, trademark, logo, photography, illustration, design system, etc.
Building a brand requires having a lot of insights about your product and those that need it. It can be daunting but if you set your mind at it, you definitely can achieve it. A worth-the-while digital agency like inclide will definitely make your brand building journey easier.
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To view brand equity and brand value as the culminating effects or the measures of branding effectiveness is not out of place. With these two measures, you can tell if a company’s whole branding process has been successful and promises long term benefits or not.
For brand equity, it is concerned with how you have set up your brand to look in the eyes of your customer while brand value is about the financial stance that results from this positioning your brand currently has in the eyes of your customer, such that if anyone is to buy the brand, this financial effect will be the determine factor. If consumers find your brand highly valuable, then whoever may be looking to buy your brand accepts it as such and vice versa. In continuation of our branding series, we will discuss these two key factors of branding in details and, en devour to establish the relationship between them and how that could specify the success or failure of your branding process. Let’s begin with brand equity.
Brand equity refers to how the branding process has positioned the product in the eyes of the customer. I.e when considering brand equity, you want to ask questions like, “has the branding process made the product become a household name among its targeted customers? especially in line with awareness and credibility when put side by side with a customer’s need I.e., does it meet a key customer need?” Brand equity also involves brand association. How has the brand related with it’s consumers so far? has the brand at any time, created a negative impression or feeling in the mind of the consumer towards it? The customer’s report on this really matters. Let’s say a product is branded to be 5 times more effective than its conventional fellows. If the consumer does not find it so, then the brand personality or attributes attached to that product is seen by the consumer as a lie. A customer may not like how a product functions or is not connected with the brand personality of the product, or even the values of the organization. It is not surprising to see the nature of customer service in some organizations causing current customers to leave and/or preventing potential customers from doing business with them. The Branding process, no matter how good, may not be able to help salvage this situation rather, such situations pose huge threats to the branding process itself.
Then, brand equity also involves customer loyalty. The simple explanation to this is that, a customer would rather purchase and use your product even when there are less costly options, because he/she believes that your product is quality. Infact, customer loyalty is to the point where the customer will not even bother considering other options or puting prices side by side at all. He/she already believes your product is superior. I for one believe that Ariel contains more bleach property than any other detergent so, whenever I want my whites to come out sparking after washing, I do not mind the product being more expensive than its counterparts, whether from the same or different organizations. We proceed to brand value.
Consider a product which does the exact thing you bought it for and, no matter how many times you’ve had to buy it, it serves that very purpose with the same high efficiency. If there were 10 persons including you, who perceived this product the way you do, and you all were in the position to advice a closely acquainted business man looking at buying over that product to his company, I can guess readily that if you all were to be genuine in your appraisal of the product, based on how relevant it has proven to be to each of you individually, the buyer can begin to see the product as a goldmine and be willing to beat off as many competitors by offering the right price for its purchase. Therefore, brand value, implies the financial stature of a particular brand. I.e how much profit can the brand generate? If someone wants to buy the brand, how much will it cost the person? it is the financial gains/loss of effective/ineffective branding as the case may be. So, brand value is purely the money aspect of the branding process. Brand value becomes expedient during mergers and acquisitions. The amount paid to buy the brand in question is dependent on the unit of cash flow that it presently brings the company due to degree of customer patronage and market share. If unit of cash flow is high, the brand sells off at a higher price. If otherwise, the brand sells of at a lower price.
The Brand equity-Brand value Synergy.
There is a meeting point between this two qualities of the branding process because brand equity can very much determine brand value. When brand equity is positive, that is, when consumers bear a high regard of the brand, there’s higher patronage thereby, increasing market share for the brand. This results in more revenue generated for the company and consequently, more unit of cash flow from that particular brand. For a thriving brand like this, the situation during mergers and acquisitions, for both buying and selling company is usually win-win. The selling company is able to cash out at a very profitable price and the buying company too is at an advantage to leverage on the already existing positive vibes among consumers concerning the brand, not only in the marketing strategy for the brand but also for their other products/brand. For brands with negative brand equity, the situation is, almost always otherwise.
You want my advice on how to effectively prevent these branding errors that could grow into disasters? Entrust all your digital marketing needs into the hands of a reliable digital marketing agency like Inclide.com and see how your business runs with top-notch effectiveness. Click on the ‘contact us’ bottom for a conversation with our 24/7 service representative. If you have been following our latest posts on branding, having read this one, you should be able to establish clearly how interwoven the elements of the branding process are and how one foot put right or wrong can make it mar the entire structure. If you haven’t, you’re just a click back to each ‘previous post’.
How did you find this week’s post? informative and right for your business? Let’s get your opinion in the comment section. See you next week for another dose of wellness for your business’s online presence.
Have you ever wondered about the success stories of some popular companies and the strategies they put in place? Procter and Gamble is a household name that has been able to ride its way through the market. Some persons may not know the name ‘P & G’ but if you ask around about Pampers, Duracell, Always, Oral B, Gillette – you will find out how much people know these household products, all of which are affiliate brands and make up what is called the brand architecture of the P&G company. P&G adopted a strategy which made their products gain more attention than the usual corporate brand. This individual branding strategy stood them out into one of the most successful companies in the world.
So, before I discuss the strategies companies like P&G use connecting their products, let me clear out what ‘brand architecture’ really means.Brand architecture is a strategic tool used to set up relationships between parent brands and child brands. It is a way in which companies represent their brands in relation to their various products, brands and sub-brands. A brand architecture comprises of various sections, which all link together and shows how closely related brands are to each other. A master brand is the parent brand which conveys the brand name. A sub-brand is connected to a parent brand, with a personal brand name and identity. Why You Should Consider Brand Architecture
Before you can consider any of the strategies of brand architecture, the target market should be put first. Some of the key benefits attached to a good brand architecture are:
The brands tend to have a stronger position in the market, this makes it easier to communicate with consumers.
Customers are targeted properly and this helps the company to make use of effective marketing strategies.
Brand architecture also helps to build brand equity of sub brands.
Brand architecture is a fundamental part of product branding. Various schools of thought typify brand architectures differently. In this blog post, we will consider brand architecture in three distinct forms so, you get informed on which one your company should or has adopted and work towards making it more productive for your market share, brand value and equity. So, let’s look at the different brand architectures in detail.
The parent brand is closely associated with the child brand. Corporate branding is very common. Companies that make use of this branding are usually strong. The Virgin group, Google, P&G are examples. This type of branding makes it easy for new brands from the company to be accepted with other brands that belong to the company. Branded houses and house of brands are categorized under corporate branding. The company serves as the master brand with its name linked to other sub-brands. Branded house is also known as monolithic architecture. In this architecture strategy, the parent brand is present and its name is linked to other sub-brands. An example is Google; having Gmail, Google drive and Google maps as child brands. House of brands are also called pluralistic brand architecture. The parent brand manages many sub-brands. The company promotes these sub-brands which all have their personal identities in the market. This is where the P&G company falls into, with its sub-brands like Duracell and Pampers A big advantage of corporate branding is that it helps to save advertising money, the same adverts can be used for other brands. Although, it can be difficult for other brands to make a name for themselves.
The endorsed brand rely less on corporate brands, though they need support from corporate brands to fit into the market. They have their own brand identity but rely on backing from corporate brands. Some terms associated with sub-brands that are endorsed include ‘brought to you by’ or ‘by’. Examples of endorsed brands are Nescafe by Nestle, Double Tree by Hilton Hotels.
Sub-brands are able to leverage the credibility of corporate brands and still target customers. A disadvantage of this strategy is that they have to live up to the same consumers expectations from corporate brands. It also finds it hard to succeed on its own in the market without endorsement from the corporate brands.
This is a mixture of branded house and endorsed house. Here, parent-child relationship exists. Some sub-brands have close relationships with parent brands while some have distant relationships. An example is Volkswagen which owns brands like Bugatti, Audi and Skoda – but it still carries a brand on its own name. It is a flexible architecture strategy for leveraging brand equity and products that suits different marketing segments. The hybrid architecture is rare and hard to achieve. A good brand architecture will make your customers understand the brand and want to purchase products and services. Unlike a poor brand architecture which creates confusion. You just need to know which model works for your brand, this is why brand architecture should be an essential part of your business plan.
How did you find this article? Helpful? Let us know in the comments section and, look forward to next week’s post!!
As a build up on our last post, which was about branding and brand personality, we delved deeper into understanding the impact of a change in brand personality vis-a-vis attributes, logo, or any other form of identity perceived by the customer to be unique to a brand or product, without proper consideration and analysis, and we stumbled on the catching stories of two different brands, Snapple and Starbucks, who had their fingers burnt in the brand personality change act. And since we have your business at heart, in this post, we will be sharing with you the mistakes that were made, and how situations were remedied, for your learning pleasure. So, let’s begin with Snapple!.
The Snapple merger blunder.
The Snapple drink had an interestingly quirky personality. Comes in 52 or more different flavors, contained in a glass bottle with a top, that made a pop! sound, which says it’s going to be a good drink!. When Snapple started around New York City and its environs, the drink was first found in mom-and-pop stores, then it began to get into grocery stores. The drink came at a good price and gave customers that ‘you-and-me’ feel of something you share with friends, family and loved ones. It was devoid of ‘corporate’ and was purely about real people. They had a commercial with a personality named ‘Wendy’, such that Wendy came on camera and read letters from customers about Snapple, what is called customer review today. So, it was like social media before social media. Around 1988, sales skyrocketed and the brand grew exponentially when they started using their price, place, product and people formula. But they began to find it difficult to keep up with sales, demand, suffered stock out issues and, tried as they could, they couldn’t sustain the growth.
Around 1994, Quaker, which owned its own drink brand called Gatorade (a sports drink) bought Snapple, to save the day, it seemed. Quaker was a more popular brand so, according to Gatorade, they were going to leverage on the wide distribution system that Quaker already provides, in ensuring that Snapple is publicized. The plan was to merge both products to produce ‘the next big thing!’. But it seemed that Quaker had failed to carefully consider and analyze their decision properly. Snapple had 52 or more flavours, Gatorade had only 8 flavours. Snapple is distributed door to door, Gatorade is distributed to storehouses. Snapple had dixie-peach as the endorsement, Gatorade had Michael Jordan. Hence, they were two brands with completely different personalities. It would interest you to know that In the process of trying to merge these two brands, Quaker destroyed as much as 1.4 billion of value. In 1996, Triac bought Snapple from Quaker, identified three wrong decisions and corrected them. They revamped the former Snapple advertising campaign by bringing back ‘Wendy’, they brought the quirky nature back, and made friends with mon-and-pop distributors again. So, in essence, they went back to the core of Snapple. According to them, Snapple is about the flavors, about real people, mom-and-pop distribution. This is what the customers think and this is what they will get.
Now, we move on to Starbucks!!.
Starbucks and the customer effect
Starbucks is an iconic brand found in 1971, in Seattle USA. Starbucks created a place for people to drink coffee outside their homes and offices, with a mission to ‘inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time’. Expansion was global, rapid and resulted in new stores in various countries of the world. Starbucks offered their customers a relaxing and enjoyable experience in a special way by engaging them in casual and informal chats. But Starbucks would get into their customers’ bad books in a manner most unprecedented. During winter, specifically when Christmas is in the air, their mugs used to have the Santa art and color related graphic on them and their customers loved it as the cups represented the brand’s recognition of the season. Some schools of thought faulted this act and termed the Starbucks brand as being knitted in pagan festivals.
So, In 2015, the brand introduced a tone ombré cup having no seasonal symbol at all, with Starbucks saying that they decided to tell their holiday story with a purity of design. The new design met most customers with shock and the brand faced huge criticisms, the height of it being that the company had no regard for Christmas. Although Starbucks explained that the cup was initially just about simplicity and not relating to the existence of Christmas, the following year saw the company presenting their customers with 13 red-and-white cups designed by customers – 13 women from 6 countries. So, you want to get your analysis right before you change any identity form unique to your brand because it is what your brand means to the consumer. It is what they buy. Treating all brands as the same and placing the opinion of the minor few ‘schools of thought’ above that of your customers, who are the major many, can be disastrous to brand personality, reduce market share, and, in the long run, brand value.
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Branding transcends way beyond logos, colors and taglines. It is the lasting image or perpetual perception of your product or company that you want to create in the mind of your consumers. Branding influences patronage, customer loyalty and what new product will fit into your long term product train. Once you have created this image, and it has gained wide acceptance, it becomes a promise made to consumers on how your products will serve them, such that, a change in your branding style may be perceived as reneging on a promise, or even worse, breaking a covenant. The traits that are unique to your product or business, were it human, could be considered as the stepping stone into branding. This is called brand personality.
As a start-up, you should pop, as early as you can, the question “if my product was a person, what kind of person would it be? Maybe if P & G’s Ariel was a person, it could pass for a woman, aged 25-65, married, gentle/mild on others and loves squeaky clean, but wants that to happen faster. Now, you want to put your product on the same scale and ask the same question. Were you able to answer the question? This could determine if your business is a only source of livelihood or a legacy.
Whether you have named your product/business already or about to, you should consider these 5 reasons as convincing enough for you to clearly spell out the brand personality for your product or business.
It is meant to inform your choice of name, logo, color and tagline
Your brand personality should be clearly reflected in these identifying features for your business. When designing your logo for example, a graphic designer with knowledge of best practices should ask what your brand personality is. Many businesses bear identifying features that cannot be traced to the attributes portrayed by the brand to the consumer. While this may not affect market share in the short run, it may erase chances of any long term customer loyalty
It reflects the benefits of your brand to the consumer
What do consumers stand to gain from buying your products? How does it meet their needs? What long term satisfaction do they derive from using your product? all these and more are the core benefits that your brand personality can instill in the minds of consumers if clearly defined.
It makes marketing strategies easy and more effective
Creating and executing a marketing communication campaign plan is less tedious with a well specified brand personality as this aids your choice of marketing mix, promotional content and even the personalities portrayed in your adverts. It becomes natural at this point to want to sell your product’s attributes to the public in the most effective way possible as you have a good understanding of its personality.
It forms a core aspect of your brand architecture
Without properly identifying the brand personality of a parent product or business, developing the brand, I.e, adding other products, extending business lines, creating mergers and multiband structures may be fatal to either the already existing brand, the newly acquired brand or worse of all, the entire company. If you sell more than one product, your want to ensure that the personalities of your products encourage synergistic arrangement of these products in a way that connects with your first or parent brand. But how do you make sure to get this right without clearly defined brand personalities for each product.
It protects your brand
It is not the name of your business that tells that it has been taken, it is the brand personality that does. A Particular product type can be produced by several organizations but those without a brand personality will be lost in the shadow of the ones that have theirs clearly spelt out.
There are probably a thousand and one businesses with your type of product so, Branding your product or business is no longer an option if it once was. And you would want to start right by clearly identifying your brand personality because even when a product is easy to forget due to many available options, its personality in the consumer’s mind never goes away.