The increasing influence of branding
Branding is a major part of companies’ overall marketing strategy nowadays, and its importance is understood by sellers and customers alike. Around 77% of business-to-business marketers say branding is critical for growth. Furthermore, research indicates that 64% of women and 68% of men feel an emotional connection to at least one brand. Brand loyalty is a very real phenomenon, one which companies can capitalize upon and base their growth.
It is hard, if not impossible, to find a business that does not rely on branding simply as a means to differentiate and create awareness in the market.
Why does branding matter?
There are many different reasons why branding needs to be given its due share. Here are just a few consequences that have made branding so essential to current business operation:
Branding helps create a brand’s image and sets it apart from competitors. In a day and age where customers have simply too much choice, anything from a mundane bar of soap to a detergent has thousands of renditions. Having a brand enables businesses to stand out somewhat. It gives a sense of uniqueness and novelty to an otherwise run-of-the-mill purchase. Selecting from an array of distinctly branded items helps to enhance buyers’ shopping experience. Many view selecting a brand as an extension of their wants and preferences and, as a result, a means of self-expression.
Aside from helping companies stand out, carefully crafted branding plays an integral part in communicating a company’s values and philosophy to the public at large. Customers care about the businesses they support. Due to the recent trend of an increased sense of social responsibility on a multitude of issues,from the environment to racism, corporate social responsibility has come under increased scrutiny. Individuals feel better when the companies they support ally with their values. According to research, around 89% of people remain loyal to a brand if they view that the brand aligns with their personal beliefs.
Brand loyalty is perhaps the number one reason why branding is key to a business’s success. While an attractive brand campaign can help a company stand out from the rest, it builds a loyal customer base through a combination of good quality products, a complimentary brand image, and a well-communicated set of values that are the basic ingredients for growth. Repeat purchases are critical since businesses are threatened by existing and potential competitors at all times. This is also why branding needs to be reinstated through continuous promotion to ensure lasting customer loyalty.
Doing it right
Branding is an art that requires a lot of careful thought and impeccable execution. It ultimately pays off in that bit can help create brand loyalty to the extent where customers are willing to pay thousands of dollars in mark-up just to own a branded product. Most luxury products, for instance, are sold at exorbitant prices, which are much higher than the cost of production, simply based on the brand name.
While designer brands are a rare exception, branding is without a doubt a necessity in today’s marketplace. Branding should be representative of an image that a company wishes to project to its customers, an image rooted in reality and made attractive through the use of logos, imagery, colors, symbolism, and other such tools. When done right, branding can only benefit a company.