Branding is probably one of the most important factors in the success of any business, even beyond product, distribution, pricing, or location. Without a company brand your business profile to the world will be unseen, where would Norma Jean be without Marilyn Monroe, or who would call Nike just a sportswear manufacture. A brand needs to provide customers with a consistent, compelling message in order not to confuse them, as confusion leads to doubt. It also ensures our brand works strongly at an emotional as well as at a rational level, gaining the attention of potential and current customers. Having a strong brand will set your business apart from the competition and make it much simpler for any customer to look for a business on the internet.
This involves more than just a snappy name and placing an ad in the local newspaper, a successful brand has the potential to make a customer feel a certain way when the brand is thought of. Think of Coca-Cola’s ‘holidays are coming’ adverts at Christmas – they make you feel festive.
Coca-Cola has years perfecting their particular brand of soda drinks as a refreshing cold drink and a seminal representation of a market segment. Coca-Cola uses a range of marketing techniques; combining direct marketing, give-away techniques, and multi-product cross-branding to achieve maximum brand recognition and visibility in not only its immediately competitive market, but in markets as diverse as Coca-Cola branded race cars and housewares.
One of the key building blocks when creating a brand is loyalty. Customers will usually have a wide range of products to chose from in any particular industry and so in order to be successful an organisation must find a way of keeping customers coming back for more rather then visiting a competitor. Supermarkets in general are great examples of creating brand loyalty, Sainsbury’s have their Nectar card, building points the more you shop with them – this gives the consumer an incentive to go to them rather than a competitor. Tesco have also launched a buy one get one free campaign with a twist, for example buy one bag of banana’s now and get one free on your next shop – therefore eliminating the main pitfall of buy one get one free, that consumers dont need that much of one product at one time. This creates a massive incentive for consumers to continue returning to Tesco.
In exchange for these discounts and grocery cards, many companies use this consumer contact to collect information about buying habits and average spending amounts, the better to tailor marketing campaigns and future promotional efforts. Once a consumer is draw-in, brand loyalty tends to result in higher sales volume, as well as loyal customers being less sensitive to price changes of their favourite brands (within reason, of course), as well as less attentive to competitors’ incentives.
Studies have shown that it takes five times as much money to gain a customer as it does to retain one. Proving that retaining consumers is far more profit effective than continually trying to gain new ones.
A brand is who your company is, and what it is selling-it is as important as naming your child, and should require the same amount of effort to develop it, but if done successfully, can mature into a successful and profitable organisation.