While online you may at times encounter an article or two from an enthusiast website that huffs and puffs about the negative qualities of a certain product. And out of these sorts of articles you may at times see the author complaining about how that product’s manufacturer “focuses too much on the branding”. Now, why might that be so? What does the branding of a product have to do with its quality?
As it turns out, this has something to do with what we mean by a “brand” in the first place. The brand as we refer to today is a lot different than the brand we referred to about 100 years ago. Way back then, the brand was simply a mark of identification that let you know who made a certain product, and nothing more. Today however, the brand refers to so much more than that, and a lot of things that it represents mostly came about as a result of market influence – that is, human nature and the whims of the consumers. In this article we’ll discuss what branding does that makes it so important in today’s business landscape, and how you can apply the same to your business. For additional information regarding branding get in touch today to speak with High Jump Digital, the leading branding agency.
Cements Integrity And Credibility
Consumers, especially those who are not familiar with the brands that sell a certain product or service, will generally ask around for advice on what to buy. And like the advice they got from the people they asked when they were still new, more experienced customers will generally recommend products or services from brands that are known to be reliable and trustworthy. The key detail worth noting here is that the ‘trustworthy’ brand is not necessarily the largest, most popular, or the oldest brand in the business; first and foremost, a business earns the trust and recommendation of its customers if it is known to provide and maintain a high standard of quality in its output. The general definition of branding – that is, the visual elements that help people identify the business – will not do much to improve the credibility of the brand, but it does give customers a marker to which they can direct their feelings of trust, as well as a name that they can give out and spread to new customers who are looking for recommendations in your market.
Develops Brand Loyalty
Although some people (like, say, a couple in an unofficial official romantic relationship) don’t like the idea of labels, we as humans are naturally inclined to classify, categorise, and put labels on everything we see and encounter around us. It allows us to find some sense and order in the naturally chaotic world that we live in, and the idea of knowing what something is and how to deal with it gives us a feeling of security or control. By extension, this tendency to find patterned, homogeneous categories also leads us to gravitate towards like-minded people to form groups under a common ideal, goal, or banner. This is exemplified by fandoms, charity organisations, and the like.
The brand as we know it today is a great example of such a ‘banner’. Specifically, companies have begun to incorporate this idea into their marketing campaigns by creating interactive communities both online and offline that help bring the company’s customers together under one figurative roof. This allows the company to handle customer support more efficiently as it reduces the number of possible channels from which support tickets originate. On top of that, the community itself can also generate resources and offer technical support to help out other customers with easily-resolved issues, effectively serving as a front-end for the company without it needing to allocate extra money towards a stronger customer service department. Excellent examples of this in action are company-made community forums, particularly those built around video games. A lot of these forums are home to supportive, active communities that continually grow and support the brand while maintaining relatively self-sufficient. By creating and reinforcing a positive environment in these communities, customers are more inclined to stick with the brand, improving general brand loyalty and customer retention, which ultimately results in these customers continuing to buy products from your brand.
Connects Brands to Emotions
As we’ve already covered, branding represents a lot more than just a company’s identification nowadays. When we think of a brand now, we associate it with a lot of different things – integrity, community, and emotion. The emotions we attach to certain brands are by far the most significant driving force behind this shift in the way we perceive brands.
Let’s put this into a real-world example. Let’s say you’re sitting at a bench somewhere and take note of a person that passes by. In the few seconds that he or she is in your line of sight, what do you see? Do you see their talents, character, or personality? Of course not. What you would probably take notice of is what’s simply on the outside – their shirt, their jeans, their shoes, their watch, their sunglasses, their perfume, and if they are wearing any, their jewelry. But despite this rather insignificant information, the way we perceive brands and associate them with certain emotions or statuses allows us to infer or assume characteristics about that person that we would not be able to figure out otherwise, such as their social status, possible job, and more.
Over the past few decades, companies have attempted to cash in on the psychology behind brand association through marketing campaigns that at the time may have seemed rather unorthodox. Take for example the “Mac vs. PC” commercials released by Apple in the late 2000s that depicted PCs running Windows as boring, bland machines for workers, while Macs were fun, inspirational tools for creative types. Another great example is the headphone manufacturer Beats Audio, whose aggressive marketing tactics and long list of celebrity endorsers took the idea of studio-grade headphones and repackaged it for a younger, more “hip” audience, leading it to dominate in the headphone market for a few years before it was later acquired by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion.
Branding today is more than just a name and a logo. It is a symbol to which we associate certain emotions, a banner under which we group, collaborate, and grow with others, and a standard to which we measure, compare, and critique with that of other brands. It is, in essence, the distilled, purified essence of the company and what it believes in. And that is exactly what the brand should be.