Saturday, December 10, 2011

Is Branding a Must?

The word branding derives from the act of branding of cattle in order to discern the identity of the cattle, or whom they belonged to. Branding means to "burn" one's mark on their product. Today, branding has evolved to encompass a company, product or service's identity and how that image is imprinted in the mind of the consumer. Branding is not only about making people aware of your product, but also about perception. You want your customers to see you as the end all, the only solution to what they are looking for. If people trust in your brand, they will be willing to pay for it, no matter what the cost. A brand creates an image in the consumer's head. It tells them that there is something special about your brand, something that is not like other businesses or products out there.

When you are prepared to get started with your branding strategy, you need to establish what your company stands for. By doing this you will define exactly how you want your company to be perceived. Come up with a few ideas and then build around them from there. If you are unable to brand your company into a few terms, then how do you expect your customers to do the same? At the end of the day, you want to create a successful brand, bring in customers and give the positive experience. This will create a devoted customer.

These days many companies make promises to consumers. "Money back guaranteed!" "You won't believe the results!" Branding is how your company strategizes making its promise to the customer. Companies have to stand out from other brands, which is challenging when we as consumers have so many options at our fingertips. Ultimately, the goal is for people to put your brand at the very top of whatever category your product or service fits.

There are a few things you should try to avoid when devising your branding strategy. It is not typical for a company to be successful at selling a "better" product and make claims of its superiority over a product that has a record of success; you must separate yourself from the competition. You should come up with your company or products branding in terms that the majority of consumers will understand; the simpler the brand concept, the more it tends to stick in people's minds. It is important to protect your brand and deal with online reputation management, or IRM. Lastly, focus on offering your customer's the best value and not the lowest price. There will always be competitors trying to get below your price point.

Remember that branding is about the consumer's perception and not the product itself. It is proven that perception is the reality of the consumer, not the facts. It does take time, money and consistency to build a strong brand, but the advantages of will pay off if it is done correctly.