What is a Brand?
Your brand increases the value of your company, and it helps you gain new customers. However, a brand is not just a memorable logo; it is EVERYTHING! A brand is what your company stands for, your customer service, your reputation, your promise to the consumer, the trust that you develop, and the expectations your customer has when interacting with your company.
A brand is a promise that the company makes to its customers and all consumers. Through this promise your customers know that what you deliver will be more than just the tangible product or service; it is a feeling that the consumer will experience and get with becoming your customer.
Ex: Disney’s promise of happiness. Zappos guarantee to WOW the customer.
The consumers, not the company build each brand that exists. This perception
doesn’t happen in isolation; it grows and develops from every experience a consumer has with your company.
The way consumers perceive a brand defines it, and it doesn’t matter what YOU think the company promises if the consumer doesn’t understand it that way. Every step of your branding and marketing strategy should be developed to cater to consumer perceptions and should reflect how you want your brand to be perceived.
Ex: Everything the Kardashian family does is meant to create a specific consumer perception, we as consumers, see only what they want us to see.
Expectations are based on your brands promise and your the way consumers perceive it. Each time they interact with your brand, they develop expectations of the product, the brand, and the service. Every time they spend their money, they want those expectations met, and if it doesn’t fit this expectation in every interaction a confusion will occur. When confusion arises, and the promise and expectations are not met, consumers will turn away from your brand and will search for a new brand that will meet their expectations every time.
Ex: What if you ordered a pair of Zappos shoes and has a problem? You contacted Zappos, but the customer service was terrible and upset you. You expected that you were going to be WOW’ed, but instead, you were disappointed. In most cases, you will never order from Zappos again, and you will tell all your friends about your horrible experience.
As a business you must always remember, if a customer has a good experience they will tell 3 people, if they have a bad experience they will tell 10+ people.
As your budget progresses and evolves, continue referring to your SMART objectives. Stay focused and remember your goals – they will always inform what your next step will be!
Trust is key. That is true in any aspect of your business. Without trust you will not have any customers, without trust you will make no money, without trust your brand won’t have any equity or integrity behind it. Trust is an aspect of your brand’s identity, promise, perception, and expectations. If all of those aspects are up-kept the brand will have the trust of the consumers. However, if that trust is broken and the consumer has a bad experience the trust disappears.
Ex: Let us think of Chipotle. When they had their crisis in 2015-2016 with the health problems, the trust that the consumer had for the brand was erased. Chipotle worked to build trust through customer service, customer perception, customer service, and excellent delivery of expectations. That didn’t matter, after they resumed operations, in 2016 their revenue was slashed in half (From $1+ billion to $500 million.)
Your brand’s identity is how the business wants to be perceived by consumers. This includes the name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface, advertising, and marketing. The difference between brand identity and brand image is that the brand image is how consumers ACTUALLY perceive the brand instead of how the business wants to be perceived. The key to having a strong brand identity is consistency.
Ex: Let’s take the Apple. Apple has a strong brand identity; they are not just a technology company; they want to be perceived as a lifestyle company that is hip, fun, and cutting edge. Their brand identity matches their brand image.
7. Advertising & Communications
Every ad you release, every digital or print design you publish, every post an employees posts, and every press conference that you do represents your brand. Advertising can make or break a company. Every ad you release must fall strategically in your branding and marketing strategy. It must demonstrate the promise that the company is preparing to the consumers, and it must cater to the expectations.
Ex: Let’s take the recent debacle of the Pepsi Co. commercial. They released a video with Kendall Jenner that caused an uproar in the community because it was culturally insensitive. This resulted in a PR mess that damaged the brand image. Good advertising is forgotten; bad advertising will always follow the company.
Your brand promise and brand experience shape consumer perceptions of your brand. You logo shapes your brand promise, your customer service helps shape the experience, and all of this is reinforced through marketing and advertising. Having a strong Branding Strategy that encompasses all of these aspects will help your company succeed.
Part of your Brand and Brand Identity is the logo. A logo that has a strong brand build around it can be worth millions of dollars and can add a depth of equity to your company. The logo is an intangible element
of your brand identity and it communicates the brand promise, and shapes the perceptions, and meets the expectations of consumers.
Ex: Nike’s intangible logo is the brand. Every time you think of Nike you think about their swish sign. It is estimated to be worth $13 billion and is only 25 on the top 100 most valuable brands.