Leveraging brand identity is important for all companies, large and small. Consider some of the all time masters of brand marketing, such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Kodak, and instantly we can envision the company spirit instead of just a single product. In order to better understand how to leverage the power of brand marketing, a business professional or owner first needs to understand the concept behind brand, brand marketing and brand identity.
What is a brand?
Put in the simplest of terms, a brand is a set of associations that a consumer links to a product or company name that help them to understand what the brand or company means to them. Strong brands are hard to compete with. Weak brands rarely exist or endure.
Although the term can be confusing for many people, remember that the consumer does not really think in terms of differentiating product from brand. Therefore, if a corporate brand is strong, they assume the company’s products are also.
What is Brand Marketing?
Brand marketing is when a company advertises or promotes a brand name or logo rather than just a specific product. The company’s marketing angle is to win the hearts and minds of the consumer completely, allowing them to infuse the client with brand loyalty no matter what product the company is selling.
For example, many people will not purchase an electronic product if it is not a Sony. The company, Sony, one of the most powerful brands in history, has brand marketed the company to supersede mere product lines.
How can a small business owner or manager incorporate brand marketing solutions? Regardless of the industry competition level (local, national or international), there are a few simple rules that must be followed to achieve effective marketing. The same is true for startups. Below are aspects of marketing startups should get right.
- Corporate Identity
Corporate identity is a company’s visual presence that may include a company website, corporate logo, brochures and any other materials developed to expose the company to the target customer. Do not confuse corporate identity with brand identity (which is discussed below). However, corporate identity does reflect upon a company’s brand identity.
Corporate identity solutions: Think carefully about every logo, insignia, tagline and image chosen to represent the company. Choose strong items that visually represent the company well and conjure a positive image in the consumers mind. The easier the business name, URL or logo is to remember, the easier time a business owner will have branding the desired corporate identity to the overall company image.
- Brand Identity – The Soul of a Company
Brand identity is the whole kit and caboodle. It includes not only everything mentioned above regarding corporate identity but also customer service reputation, the quality of products or services, presentation, benefits and after sale service, and perceived value. In essence, brand identity is the soul of a company and is crucial to successful brand marketing.
Brand identity solutions: Give the company a complete check-up. How is it doing? In order to effectively market the brand of a company, ensure that the marketing finds consumer praising services because of exceptional service and high quality products. As required, add features and benefits that will aid in brand marketing. Just keep in mind that changes must be real and implemented through to the consumer level. Failure to do this will result in negative brand identity and this is very hard to shake.
- The Company’s Brand Image
Brand image is the how the market or consumer perceives brand identity. This may be in line with corporate expectations or it could be totally different. This is a great way to gauge the effectiveness of both corporate and brand identity.
If the consumer is not viewing the company in the anticipated way, then changes need to be made – and fast! It is an ongoing battle that never, ever ends. A marketing executive or small business entrepreneur must work diligently day in and day out to ensure brand identity and brand image are in sync.
Brand image solutions: Does the company have a strong brand identity? Do you have a specific brand strategy? Are employees aware of it and are they acting and exceptional ambassadors for the company? Is management aware of customer perception of the company brand? If the answers are unknown or in question, the company and its managers need to collaborate with a reputable marketing agency that will work on strengthening brand identity to achieve success in brand marketing.