Branding is a key aspect of creative advertising. It is the vehicle through which creativity in advertising aimed at influencing target audience and keeping them loyal to an organization’s brand is expressed. So if you’re in the advertising business in Nigeria and you do not understand the basics of branding you’re probably threading on professional quicksand. This is because with time you’ll be out of business since you wouldn’t know the best way to appeal to the audience and your clients would definitely not be happy with this. Read this interesting piece by Robison Wells posted on Lucidpress to understand the basics of branding in advertising.
What is branding and why is branding important?
If you Google “brand definition” you’ll find forty-three different attempts on just the first page of search results alone. There are so many competing misconceptions about what a brand is that it might be simpler to say what a brand is not: A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a name. A brand is not a trademark, symbol or jingle. Yes, these things affect the brand, but a brand encompasses all of this and more.
What is branding?
To begin to understand what a brand is, you must first understand that your brand does not exist in your marketing department, your public relations team, or your CEO’s office. A brand exists only in the minds of your customers. Simply put, a brand is the sum total of all the impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company and your products. Each one of these interactions tells a story to your customers. If your customer believes that a product is new and innovative, then those attributes become part of your brand in that customer’s mind. If your packaging is beautifully illustrated, then they may view your brand as sophisticated or elite. On the other hand, if your service is poor, customers might think you’re stubborn or rude. If your print materials are designed in MS Paint, you may look cheap and amateur.
Every interaction sends a message
Imagine all of these interactions as arrows, and each one points to a message. For example, your product (a big interaction) might point to the message that your company is innovative. Another arrow—your beautifully illustrated print advertisements—might point to the message that you’re sophisticated and elite. But what if an arrow—customer service—is rude and hard to contact? What if your CEO makes an off-color joke that’s caught on a news camera? Every one of these things are interactions you have with your customers, and every one of them is going to affect how they view your company.
All of these examples of interaction “arrows” point to different messages, sending a muddy overall brand message where the customer doesn’t know if you’re likable or not—whether they want to continue buying your products or go visit your competitor.
To manage your brand, you want to decide on a brand message then make sure that all of the interactions with your company—these arrows—are aimed at your brand message.
Think, for example, of Disney. Several years ago, Disney decided that their brand was “Magical Family Fun.” They now try to point all of their interaction arrows at their target brand, at every level of the company. Yes, there are the obvious examples, like their movies, and theme parks where actors at Disneyland (called “cast members”) dress up as Cinderella, Jack Sparrow and Mickey Mouse. But their brand influences the Disney Stores across the country: every morning, when the stores open, cast members select children to ceremonially unlock the stores with a special keepsake key. Even when providing customer service, the cast members integrate the Magical Family Fun brand message—aside from always sounding happy and eager to talk with you, they’ll spend extra time on the phone reminiscing about past experiences in the park, always happy to listen to customers’ stories or share their own memories. Everything they do, every one of their arrows, is aimed at Magical Family Fun.
Walmart is another interesting example, because their brand message became their slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.” Yes, they bargain hard to make sure that they have the lowest prices, but they also initiated the now-widespread $4 prescription plan, selling prescriptions for a much lower margin—or, often, no profit at all. They do everything they can to make their customers’ dollars stretch as far as possible. The company’s charitable giving is now more than a billion dollars per year.
Whatever brand message you choose, make sure that your customers’ impressions—your arrows—all point in the right direction. Remember the old marketing adage: “A bad advertisement is worse than no ad at all.” By being a brand ambassador—by sending consistent, targeted messages—your customers will understand exactly who you are and what you can do for them.
- A brand exists only in the mind of your customers. It is the sum total of all impressions that your customer gets from all interactions with you, your product and your company.
- Every interaction sends a message—it is your job, as brand manager, to make sure all of those messages are pointing the right direction to support your brand strategy.
- Proper branding elevates your product to be more than just a sum of it’s parts.
- People make purchasing decisions based on more than just product features.
For Complete article, see Lucidpress.com
This article was first published on Lucidpress.com