“Brand” – We hear this term everywhere.
The entire acclamation of brands is growing and becoming nebulous every single day in this digital age. Branding hasn’t been limited to just a few companies and products now.
Branding has a great dominance in the products we buy and the services we use on a daily basis. So whether you are a CEO of a company, a regular employee of an IT company, or just a student who has to prepare for school tomorrow, you are going to come across at least a dozen brands every single day.
Brands have such a significant presence around our lives that their existence has become very important for us. From your favorite shampoo to ordering food from your favorite food joint, almost everything is branded.
If you ever plan to go shopping, you usually find a mall that has your favorite brands. If not, you won’t even bother to go.
Brands are popular, sure. In fact, some are more popular than others. But have you ever thought about how a brand is created in the first place? What makes the brand and how are the products that it manufactures distributed?
Branding is very common at this point. However, if the growth and popularity in these brands have ever scratched that part of your brain that wants to learn more about the very same topic and actually learn how a brand is made in the first place, this eBook is for you.
Our eBook on branding is an exclusive journey through the entire branding process, how brands are created, how they are trademarked, what goes into a good brand and how essentially you can create your very own brand.
WELCOME TO BRANDING IN MARKETING – An exclusive eBook by Granth, made for curious minds like yours!
What do we even consider as a brand? Is it the logo of the company? The colors that they use in their products? Or is it their tagline that they use over their products?
Let’s take an example to illustrate this.
Water is a free resource for everybody to survive. It was still commercialized and sold in bottles of plastic.
So how is the same water distributed among different companies and labeled individually even when all this water is still the same?
The answer is branding.
Talking about branding, what does one mean by a brand?
In the past, branding referred to a label on one of the products of a company that indicated that it belongs to the same company/organization.
Fast forward to today, the basic fundamentals of a brand still remain the same.
A brand stands as a feature that companies use to distinguish themselves from each other. Your brand is the representation of what your company or business is and helps your customers identify it easily.
Brands typically involve having a
However, brands now are very different from what they used to be in the past. The brands now have evolved to become multifaceted. If a brand wants to grow today, it requires developing such a relationship with its customers that’s synchronized in all ways, across all the platforms.
Brands now have to consider their social media, their billboards, and their advertisements and curate it in such a way that it completely depicts what they are about without even mentioning it every time.
A brand isn’t limited to an organization only. In fact, even individuals could be referred to as brands. Anybody who creates content and builds an audience around that content becomes a brand.
Companies and businesses approach such personalities in order to collaborate with them and perform brand deals. Since these creators have an audience of their own, they always have a market to promote products in.
Brands basically are the business tools that drive commercial value.
Brands reflect how a company, organization or even an individual is perceived by the ones that interact with it.
Back when “brand” was a new term in markets, it usually referred to putting a label on a product to clarify that it belonged to a certain company.
And now, a brand is defined as the recognizable feeling that a product or a business evokes.
In the year 1876, the red triangle became the first trademark that was issued by the British Government.
Furthermore, the Guinness World Records recognized the Tate and Lyle as the world’s oldest branding and packaging that remained unchanged until the year 1885.
By definition, branding refers to a marketing strategy that involves the creation of a name, design, logo, customer experience as well as the product itself, which makes a company easily distinguishable from the rest of the companies.
With the growth in companies, branding has become a compulsion in order to distinguish one product from the other. The reason for it is that not only does branding create a memorable impression on the consumers, but it even helps them find your products in the sea of thousands of other brands.
Branding is such a process that involves adequate research, development, and a variety of legal clauses in order to affiliate products under a specific company.
Brands are developed in a lot of ways. It usually involves merchandise, reputation, advertisements, and logos as well. There are a variety of other factors as well that go into the creation of a brand and finally create a unique and professional brand.
Nike, a sports brand which we are all familiar with, has had a significant brand evolution since its birth.
Since the origin of companies and brands, their entire purpose and mode of marketing have evolved.
Where companies were focused on manufacturing products the way they want, now it’s more of a consumer-driven model of branding. Here’s how brands have evolved over time
Over the last few years, the marketing of brands has had a major influence. With the development of communication, companies have found new methods to build their image. With the help of social media, brands have the ability to get maximum engagement and insights possible from their customers.
Companies are striving hard to build their brands through digital media in order to mirror their perspectives. There are hundreds of examples of brands using social media and similar digital platforms in order to reach more customers and run popularity campaigns.
You can see businesses building filters of their own for Instagram and Snapchat, encouraging the followers to click pictures in these filters and tag them on their profiles.
The entire brand marketing process was developed when there was a need to label the products in order to make the customers realize where and whom they are buying the products.
Today, brands have a simple basic role. However, the objectives of every brand have influenced because of the development of platforms and communication channels which has even had an influence on the preferences of the customers.
The entire fundamentals of brand marketing have been changed over the last few years and will continue to change over the years. All you need to do is to maintain consistency with your brand and implement a strategic marketing strategy to future proof your brand.
Your brand is essentially one of the most important assets for your business. It is what your customers look for first when they want to buy something.
In fact, 59% of shoppers prefer to buy new products from the brands.
Branding gives your organization an identity that creates an impression on the minds of your customers and essentially could be used across all the activities concerned with your business/company.
If a business wants to sustain, branding becomes an important factor. The reason is that this is how your customers perceive your brand.
Branding has its own special benefits that you just can’t let slide. Some of these are:
\Whenever you look at somebody holding a piece of tech with that Apple logo at the back, you immediately realize it’s an Apple product. This means that Apple is so well-distributed in the market that its brand awareness is really high.
Brand Awareness basically means how familiar consumers are with your brand. If your brand awareness is high, your consumers are going to identify your brand right from the logo.
Higher brand awareness means that a brand is popular. The more popular a brand is, the more consumers it is capable of reaching.
While today’s marketers might pay more attention to numbers than brand awareness, it still is an incalculable metric that has a lot of value.
Brand awareness is really important for businesses that hope to achieve their goals in mainstream markets.
Back in 2009, Toyota, one of the most popular automotive manufacturing companies, faced some genuine quality issues which caused a severe PR issue.
Since the company was under fire, they had to spend a lot of years conveying its “quality” image, which has now helped the organization oversee the crisis and re-establish trust in their products.
Brand recognition or brand recall is a big part of marketing investments. People realizing that the brand stands for a particular thing is very important.
When businesses focus more on branding, they are paving way for new opportunities in the form of new customers.
A strong brand means that there is a good impression of the business among consumers. Most likely, other companies could approach for collaborative business opportunities because of the familiarity of a name that they could trust.
As a brand is well-established, one of the most effective methods of marketing is the word of mouth.
In places where the internet and social media aren’t dominant, ‘word of mouth’ is what works the most.
A comprehensive marketing strategy includes branding and marketing. Businesses use branding for the sake of creating a message for themselves with the hope of being remembered by consumers.
Advertising is a very important part of any business to sustain. Especially when all the businesses are competing against one another in the hope of building brand awareness, advertising has always proved to be one of the best methods of familiarizing people with a brand.
Both these concepts work hand in hand to convey a message to consumers through different media. This could be through radios, television, banners, and in 2020, social media.
Whenever a consumer comes across an ad that belongs to a brand they are familiar with, they instantly understand that the product is trustworthy (provided the reputation of the brand is good).
Branding plays a great role in advertisements. This is why you see companies building their brands first and then resorting to advertising. The reason is that most of the consumers won’t dedicate their time to find if the company is trustworthy or not if they haven’t heard of it before. And if they have, they can check out the product without having to scrutinize the company that’s selling them.
As the brand popularity increases, customers become more acquainted with a brand. Over time, they might even consider making your brand a priority over the rest of your competitors.
A well-strategized branding helps a company build credibility with its customers and clients over time.
As a company builds its brand, more investors and similar business opportunities are bound to occur their way.
Branded companies give out the impression of having expertise in their field. This makes people trust the company and its products/services. The existence of a branded company in the market also means that its products could easily be identified by consumers.
All the large businesses at the beginning are small businesses that aim towards becoming a brand some day.
While the branding process may seem like something which big companies only do, know that the entire process starts right from the time when you are a small business.
As such, here are some of the branding tips that you could follow as a small business:
Understand it this way – If you want your brand to become a success, interact with people the way they expect you to, like a person.
You might not know about it, but people consider your brand’s identity, what it stands for, and how the past experiences from people with the brand have been.
For a brand to become successful, you need to straighten out the following questions:
A lot of businesses and organizations make the mistake of being very inconsistent with their brands. Inconsistency is something that’s not only harmful for one particular aspect of a brand (like its social media), but the entire brand as a whole.
Inconsistency confuses your audience and slowly reduces your presence among the community.
When your brand is consistent across all the mediums, people start to understand it better. Customers can get recognized with your brand sooner and maybe even prefer it above the rest of the brands with time.
Whatever it is you do, make sure you are continuous with your brand. Even if it’s posting on social media, make sure you have a posting frequency (say 1 post a day), to maintain your presence and not show up whenever you please, leaving customers confused as to what your brand is all about in the first place.
Brand Consistency is rather one of the most important things for your brand, which is why we will talk more about brand consistency ahead in this eBook.
If your brand is popular, it makes your employees feel strong and motivated. The same goes for your customers and all your business related activities. When a customer buys a Nike sneaker, they are more than happy to be a part of the venture and instead get something tangible that they could own.
You can use the same branding for all the activities you perform regarding your business.
As a social media account owner, while posting anything, enter your logo/brand color in the media so that people understand it’s produced by a brand. They won’t even have to go through your account as well.
The same could be done on your business cards and your collaborations with other companies and media.
Display your logo on any of the brands and ventures you are working with. This makes the other brands’ audience familiarize themselves with your brand and most likely, even check out your products/services or potentially become a customer.
Brands often frown upon their competition. What they don’t realize is that competition is one of the most important blessings we’ve ever had. The presence of competition not only educates you where your brand stands as compared to theirs but even helps you realize what you can do in order to make your brand improve and excel with time.
But, often analyzing competition, a lot of marketers and businesses fall for their techniques and methods and start imitating what they do.
At times this imitation could be the use of the designs that the competition uses, the type of pictures and content they put up or even the use of certain techniques in order to reach out to more people.
This could often lead to imitation where you basically start ripping off even the basics of your competition, right to the logo and the name.
Creating a brand is easy. Maintaining its unique nature is different and hard. But it’s equally beneficial if you want your brand to stand out from the rest of your competition.
Keep your competitive inspiration limited. Not only can copying from brands hurt your credibility, but your competitors can even sue you for copyright infringements.
Your competitors might have found a few ways to brand their business, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no other way to brand your business. There are hundreds of new ways that you could put to your disposal.
For any brand to sustain in the market, there’s a dire need for a long-term plan.
As that is straightened out, your brand marketing strategies would automatically be guided by the vision of the company.
For an effective brand marketing strategy, you need a series of elements in order to make your business steady for a long time.
As you are building a brand for yourself, you need to figure out what you want to be known for. This vision could be further displayed across all your marketing channels.
How do you want your brand to be identified? Should it become a leading brand in sportswear like Nike? Or should it be more generic and provide access to items like in Walmart.
Whatever the aim of your brand might be, the most important thing is how do you want to be remembered?
Take Mc Donald’s as an example. While they remain one of the most popular fast-food chains, they are still popular for their collaborations. One of the most recent collaborations was with the famous rapper Travis Scott, where they offered Travis Scott x Mc Donald’s Happy Meal for a limited period of time.
Before you even begin your branding journey, make sure to pass on the message to your customers what your brand is all about from the very beginning.
Your brand is an identity that people look up to. The better your activity among the customers is, the more they are going to want to see you around.
How you are interacting with your customers is a significant element in your branding process. The way you connect with them, the more you involve in their lives, and the more presence you display around them, the more they are going to endorse your brand.
When people see your ad/banner, they take in the vibe, the aesthetics and even the colors that you use for your brands. Maintaining consistency among the same is important.
Brands like Nike have maintained their presence throughout all the mediums they use. Whenever you see a tick, you realize that it represents a Nike product.
Nike logo on Ronaldo’s Jersey | Source
Brand consistency could be maintained through a few common measures.
Almost every business uses social media or online marketing of such kind to show its presence in a variety of communities. And the best part is that maintaining such a presence online could be one of the least expensive marketing methods.
As you start building your brand, ensure that you are maintaining a proper communication with your followers. Participate in their events and show all your support to any festivals and occasions by running limited, personalized campaigns.
For you to reinforce your brand consistency, prefer using branded links whenever you are sharing any. These links could help you find a common way between brands and their audiences. The use of branded links could also help you in mentioning your company’s name to all the content that you are sharing, thus increasing consistency.
When it comes to social media, you might also want to make sure that your visual marketing is on-brand as well. Using a particular color pattern as templates help you build the authority you want.
For a customer to trust a brand, it should be as humanized as possible. Building a brand involves a lot of customer interactions, in such a way that it leads to great feedback almost every single time.
As a brand grows, people hope to participate in their daily lives. If you position your business as an important brand and manage to build a following, you are going to receive a lot of benefits in the long-run.
Creating emotional links with your customers than just budgeting extra. You can humanize your brand by:
Recently, Burger King along with other fast-food chains offered free meals and food deals to the healthcare workers during the pandemic.
Image Source | GoodHouseKeeping
Such things allow a brand to build an emotional connection with its customers and build trust among the community that a brand cares for the general people as well – thus leading to repeated purchases, more customers, and advocacy.
For a brand to achieve its objectives, it needs to identify its target audience properly.
When we mention the ‘target audience’, it doesn’t just mean identifying the demographics.
Demographics are an important factor for a brand to identify who buys their product. But if you are targeting your marketing just based on these demographics, your marketing efforts could go in vain.
Finding the target audience means understanding the buying personas of the customers. A lot of marketers think that targeting a wider audience could get them their target customers as well. However, it just adds to the expenses.
Let’s say you are an ad agency. Instead of targeting ‘marketers of all kinds’, you can target it to ‘Marketers in specific niches’ or ‘Marketers of ages 20 to 30 interested in blogging and WordPress’. As you establish a strong target audience, you can move to create a brand that’s consistent.
Branding is a long process that includes proper planning and a long-sighted business plan – any type of business!
This even includes eCommerce businesses. And to make your online store a success, you need to have your branding strategy worked out way before you even launch it. This helps you avoid working on basic things in order to meet your customer expectations.
Good branding on any kind of a store could easily draw enough attention from the target audience. For an eCommerce store, strong branding could result in growth in the sale of products/services. It could also act as a safety for businesses against competing for prices.
The entire process of building a brand for an online shop is completed in a few key steps which are almost the same for all kinds of eCommerce businesses.
For any kind of business to sustain in today’s markets, there’s a strong need to understand and identify your target audience.
You have to identify what influences your target audience and use the same elements as leverage.
This leverage could include their preferences, what could ease their decision-making, what attracts them, and what they actually like about your brand?
Nike might be an all-sports gear, but they are more popular for their shoes. Call it because of the fresh designs they release every year or even the quality of their products, their audience knows that they expect nothing but quality from Nike.
Your business could have a similar distinct feature that makes you different from the rest of the competitors and that’s what you could keep a dominant feature in your products.
Brand persona means how your brand is perceived by the people. This very same concept is going to define what your customers could expect from you.
As you start building a brand, you are also creating an impression in the audience as to what your brand is all about. You build an image of your brand with time which you carefully have to commit to.
This brand persona is strongly influenced by the information you extract about your target audience. Then you finalize what tone of voice would be ideal for this audience.
When a persona is to be determined, there are a few factors that you HAVE TO consider:
As you are displaying your products to a large audience virtually, you have to be as precise and informative as possible.
Online shoppers can’t really touch or feel your products. All they can do is to see them virtually and hope that the brand that’s manufacturing these products is genuine and credible.
As an eCommerce store, your assets include your website design, the fonts you use, your logo, and the ability to mention all the ‘right’ details about the product you are selling.
Such elements are powerful branding tools that allow a customer to distinguish your product against the others. In fact, about 80% of the customers will identify a brand based on a memorable signature color.
Online stores need to have powerful branding in order to get the most amount of customers.
Have you ever realized why you prefer visiting the H&M website to buy products? Sure, their quality is great but more than that the products on their online store have all the information a customer needs to make the decision if they should buy the product or not.
Not only just the information but the quality and quantity of the images needs to be adequate as well.
Think of it this way – Your customer has no idea what they are actually buying. Judging by the details you have provided, they are assuming a product is of a certain quality. If you deliver exactly what you mentioned, it’s going to prove much effective towards building the credibility of your brand.
Usually, any brand doesn’t have much control over how your customers usually feel about the brand. That still doesn’t mean you can’t ensure that every interaction that’s made with your brand isn’t aligned with what you have promised to deliver.
Online stores are usually an open space for you to experiment and create your own, unique shopping style.
This is up to you how to perform in this space. Primarily, your store should ensure that your store follows the brand guidelines.
During the entire buying process for a customer, you can provide them with technical support, make it easier for them to access and manage their carts, and even provide the most details about the products they are interested in.
You can even use chatbots for the same purpose.
Most of the consumers prefer if your brand knows and understands their shopping experience. This is best seen in Amazon where they promote personalized products to every customer individually based on their shopping habits.
While this is achieved through AI and Machine Learning, it surely is one of the best methods to retain your customers.
Your store should essentially have proper return policies, shipping arrangements, and adequate weekly newsletters in order to retarget the existing customers and invite the new ones as well.
As you are building your brand, you need to learn how to give back to your customers.
Not only does this build a customer-business relationship, but it even helps you invite more customers to your brand.
This value could be in the form of cashback, coupons, gift cards, and sale discounts. You can make sure to provide such options to your existing customers that have been around for long durations.
You can even show your gratitude to your customers by running loyalty programs, promotions, and extended discounts. Something as simple as a ‘Thank you’ message could also go a long way.
Brand building is all around building relationships with customers and humanizing your approaches. Consider giving back to people.
Since you are already aware of all the important elements of your business, you also have to consider that your business is totally legal and aligns with the governmental regularities of your state/country.
And that’s when you start looking for the process of making your brand legal. Let’s walk through the process that’s involved.
As you create a new brand, you need to trademark it as soon as possible. As you trademark your brand name, you can legally claim the name and ensure that the same name is connected to your company/business.
Speaking of brand names, it’s what is used to create a connection to the products or services of a business. For a brand to even survive in the market, it needs to be recognized by the customers and should be able to stand apart from the rest of the brands.
Brand names could also have a great impact when they incite an emotional response from the consumer.
For you to conduct business across state lines or internationally, your brand should be trademarked. As it’s trademarked, you essentially prevent companies and similar businesses from infringing on your business identity.
If your brand isn’t trademarked, your company could be used by people or businesses unauthorizedly.
Nestle, a food and drink processing company is a trademarked brand whose logo, brand name, or color combinations can’t be copied by other brands. This is all because of a trademark.
It’s really important for you to be careful when it comes to trademark your business. While your brand should be able to attract customers, you also need a name that is easy to understand/pronounce. Consider the following tips:
Pro Tip: On your behalf, if you like a name that you think might infringe on any other business’s trademarks, speak to your lawyer and discuss the risks that could be involved if you pick that name.
A brand could be registered with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office’s Principal Register (or your country’s Patent laws). If you have a trademark on this list, it could be really beneficial in cases of trademark disputes.
For you to register a descriptive brand name, you need to register it with the supplemental register. This allows you to find a list of trademarks that might not actually meet your requirements for a principal register, but might still distinguish your company from the others.
As your trademark is on the supplemental register, you get the ability to sue any company for infringement. However, in such cases, you might have to walk that extra mile to prove that you have a distinct brand name.
For you to have a great brand identity, your logo should be equally great.
As you have a great brand name in consideration, the next step is to protect the identity of your brand by all means.
To do that, here are some of the things you could consider:
As you build your brand, there are a lot of instances when you are going to find people misappropriating your trademark in a few places.
Let’s say you are a clothing brand. Often, you will find your products sold at eBay from a local seller with your brand name and logo on the products. You don’t own the product as it’s just a rip-off of your brand and you don’t want people profiting off your brand unauthorizedly.
This means, every now and then, you are going to have to search for infringers on the internet to prevent any unauthorized uses of your brand.
Google allows you to perform deep searches, right from image search to text search. As soon as you find any, contact your attorney.
After you have identified your infringers, it’s time to send them the notice of Cease and Desist, which is basically a ‘Take-Down’ Notice.
This notice asks them to stop unauthorized use of your brand, or you might have to sue them and take this matter up in court.
Here’s an example of a Cease and Desist Letter that Netflix sent to an Arcade bar.
As you send an infringing notice, you are telling them that you are the owner of the trademark and they should remove all the infringing marks from their products/services.
You are covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1996. This clause protects your intellectual property on all digital means. If any of the violators daily comply, they can even see their protection being revoked under the law.
As you draft contracts, make sure to include the intellectual property clauses as well. As you hire the contractors and employees, they are bound to sign the agreements that state against the use of your intellectual property for their personal use or in any of their own businesses.
Including a clause that states all the property that’s created for your business belongs to you are also something that you need to include and get straightened out.
We talked about how you could essentially make your brand a success. But how do you create a brand in the first place?
Well, creating a brand is a process that involves some important steps that we will talk about.
So, let’s tell you how you can actually create a brand from scratch!
We talked about the importance of the target audience before as well. We know that branding brings us awareness, trust, and recognition. But how do we achieve that in the first place?
Precisely, our target audience.
If your brand isn’t capable of resonating with its audience, you won’t see any significant growth in numbers. That’s why you have to seriously consider targeting a specific group of people which we call the ‘target audience’.
Before you even begin your marketing journey, understand with whom your brand is speaking. What kind of consumers should try your products and services and for whom did you create your brand in the first place?
The more you learn about your audience, the better you will be able to understand the buyer persona and make the right decisions for your business. That’s the first step towards a journey of branding your business.
Before you even build a business, have you asked yourself why or who are you making it for?
Straightening out this priority question is what will help you identify your business objectives in the future.
Before your business even has a team of members involved, you must be able to communicate the purpose of your business. A customer is always going to be curious about what your business is about the first time they encounter it.
As the purpose behind the creation of your business is ruled out, the logo, colors, and the tagline could follow and reflect the ideation of the business.
It doesn’t matter what kind of niche or industry your business belongs to, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses that already exist.
And among such a swarm of businesses, where does your business stand and what can it provide that no other business can?
If you are able to straighten this question out, you essentially have the key to a successful business.
Ensure that your brand has elements that are yours and are unique by all means.
Take note of all the elements that are different in your business as compared to others and promote the same as the face of your business.
This could include how your products and services can inspire lives or how are they actually better than the rest of your competitors.
What do you think a customer sees primarily in a brand? The logo and the text, right?
Visual aspects are the ‘MOST’ important elements of your business.
What do you understand from a bitten apple on the back of a phone?
An Apple product? Right? Possibly an iPhone or an iPad.
This means that the Apple brand is so popular that you can identify it just by looking at its logo.
Visual designing is very important for your business as they set your business apart from the others.
And we are talking about the logo, the color palette, the fonts, and all other visual components involved.
As you create the visual elements for your business, take care of the fact that you own and monitor the composition (and the use) of your visual assets. This helps your branding to be used accurately and consistently.
Consider building such visual assets that are appealing and tempting to look at. Hire a professional to build you some mockups and make a final decision with the help of your team.
The next step for your business is to identify how your brands sound like or how you want it to sound like? It’s more like I texted somebody and how they would respond to our text.
Before you determine and finalize a brand voice, there’s something you need to know.
Your brand voice is significantly influenced by your target audience. If you have an audience of youths that prefer your brand, you can be as expressive as possible. Any brand tone would be fine as long as it doesn’t offend anybody at least.
However, if you are a B2B company, you might want to sound formal most of the time. Your brand voice should complement your professionalism which reflects in your products.
A common example of informal communication is dBrand. dBrand is a phone/computer accessory brand that is known for its straightforward (yet funny) messaging all across its website and social media.
How you communicate with your target market is considered as a part of your branding process. You want to devise such a tone that connects with your existing and new audience.
You can use such a tone across all the channels that your brand uses. This involves your social media, email campaigns, blog posts, brand stories, and whatnot. Allow your audience to get familiar with this tone and with time, you will realize that your audience looks forward to hearing from you.
After you are done with every step of your branding process, right from the design to the business objectives, now it’s time to plaster your business with branding.
Pay extra attention to make sure your branding is present anywhere that your business touches customers.
The use of your branding across all your channels is going to promote your brand in all ways possible. After all, the most effective method for a brand to grow is by popularity and presence. If that’s what you ensure with your brand, there’s no way your brand won’t become a successful one.