Businesses come and go but brands last forever – a cliche and overused phrase? Yes, but it’s a tried-and-tested truth that some brands have existed forever while other brands were a mere flash in the pan. While brands like Converse and Rolls-Royce have braved the sands of time, others like PanAmerica seem to vanish from the market overnight. So, what do you think makes a brand immortal? Is it the relevant message that it portrays? Or the ability to adapt to the changing times?
Besides these factors, there are seen and unseen forces that dictate the continuity of these brands. These forces are known as ‘branding practices’. All brands, even big ones have to undergo some tough love in the form of branding to not only stay alive but also to thrive. In other words, your brand value could be worth millions of dollars, but to reach this stage or remain as such, it needs ‘continuous branding’. Thus, whatever you do with your brand to create its significant presence in the market or your customer’s mind, culminates in branding. From advertising to packaging, and even partnerships, all these activities constitute as branding.
As of February 2020, Apple is counted among the most valuable companies, with its market capitalization amounting to USD 1,397 billion. With legendary products like the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch to name a few, people have come to associate the Apple brand with minimalist aesthetics and extraordinary user interface. Now, Apple poses as an example of a brand that has carved a significant place in the market and people’s minds with branding that is consumer accessible. So, once a brand has achieved positive brand equity, is branding over? Of course not, Apple, like any other brand, is a victim of people’s perceptions as they attach certain images and values with different brands.
Simply put, your brand is the result of how people perceive it, and a large share of this perception depends on branding. Thus, branding requires telling your side of the story to communicate the ‘brand purpose’ and ‘brand promise’ to the masses. Once branding effectively communicates a mutually beneficial purpose, it leads to the creation of a true-blue ‘tribe’. Consequently, consistent branding leads to the creation of an army of loyal evangelists. Even if your brand is a victim of people’s perception, branding gives you the power to alter it. Hence, branding is a weapon that enables companies to enter the competition and even become top contenders using successful branding practices.
While ‘brand’ is a noun, ‘branding’ is a verb and refers to any activity that affects your brand. However, ‘branding practices’ are preferred over ‘branding’ because they signify the actual application instead of the theoretical know-how. So, the branding practices that can make your brand stand out includes –
Advertising is a common practice when it comes to branding. However, with numerous products of the same kind exhibiting similar values, your brand can lose its identity. Hence, it’s only relevant that your branding practice revolves around the unique aspects of your brand. For instance, Coca-Cola’s advertising campaign with personalized bottles for all relations and a plethora of flavors, communicate the message – ‘Coke for Everyone’. Thus, people have not only come to identify Coca-Cola as a soft drink brand but also associate personal memories attached to it.
The packaging of your brand has a lot to do with branding as it’s an ongoing process, but that’s not all there is to it. To familiarize your customers with your brand message, packaging poses as just another pitstop and contribute to brand building. For instance, anti-smoking cigarette packs from Reynolds and Reyner come in the shape of a coffin, and that’s not good news, maybe, except for vampires.
Besides packaging and advertising, employee branding is another alternative available to make your brand more appealing. The aim is to transform your staff from regular employees to brand ambassadors, and it’s also cost-effective. Zappos, the online retail company is infamous for its positive company culture with discounted drinks and snacks, Zollars, and other perks that not only satisfy employees but also charm customers.
Pricing can affect your brand image as your customers associate your brand/products with its market price. While Walmart and Target are preferred for their economical prices, customers have no trouble paying more for organic products sold by Whole Foods.
There’s no doubt that social media is one of the cheapest forms of branding that makes your brand accessible to modern-day customers. Whether it’s engaging your loyal customers or targeting new ones, social media provides brands with a platform to connect with people. For example, Toys manufacturing company Lego utilizes social media to connect with AFOL members and make their designs come to life, if approved.
Branding is equivalent to nurturing a brand and ensure its longevity. Regardless of how your brand is perceived, it constantly needs to be molded. As perceptions change over time, so should your brand’s identity. So, having a brand is not enough, you also need to be on your toes to make sure it remains constant, yet current, yet creative. Never compromising from your inherent message or purpose while being relevant to the changing times, is what branding is all about. To sum it all up-
…an immortal brand is the result of constant brand building.
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