Ever heard of the saying: sell a lifestyle, not the product? It is a branding strategy that rings true today, in a climate where good products are not enough to ascertain commercial success. Companies have to incorporate a distinct, consistent, and convincing brand personality on top of their quality products and services to persuade people to choose them over their competitors. When executed sensibly, a brand can garner massive crowd approval. However, when brands fall short, the backlash can be brutal and incur huge losses.
Tony’s Chocolonely is a brilliant example of successful branding. From its brand name to the bars of chocolate that they produce, the branding strategies work cohesively to present a clear and consistent identity. Every aspect of their branding paints the big picture; “together we can make chocolate 100% slave-free.”
Watch this video to get a glimpse of the many layers of considerations and planning that go into building a good brand like Tony’s Chocolonely.
Branding is undeniably essential for a company to craft a unique brand identity and set itself apart from its competitors. Yet, it is crucial to understand that branding is a booster and a mirror. It can only amplify the qualities a product or service is already carrying. In other words, no amount of branding strategies can convince consumers to purchase a low-quality product. Conversely, good branding plus high-quality product equals a higher likelihood and pool of customers and revenue.
What is a branding strategy?
A branding strategy is a long-term plan to help you create a positive identity with not just customers but also employees and organization leaders. Establishing yourself above competitors, you work to define, build, and manage the collective story that exists about your brand.
Why are brands important?
A consumer is often loyal to a brand because of its perceived quality. They may have tried the brand before and assume that they can expect similar if not better quality of service and goods as before. In this way, if you release a new item/ service it is expected to be just as good as other items/services under the same brand. A further reason why a consumer is loyal to a brand is its perceived popularity. Customers assume that other customers are buying a brand for a valid reason that that reason is the quality of goods/services. In this way, it is important for the brand to be memorable and professional for other people to notice your brand on your customers and for your customers to want to refer your brand to others.
Having a strong brand allows you to charge more for your goods/ services as they will feel like they are paying extra for better quality. They also feel like they can trust you more as a brand than with a generic good because quality is an expectation of a branded good and a brand must fulfill expectations to have consumers of that brand. If a brand exists it must have consumers. If a brand has consumers, it must be held to a certain standard. If a brand is held to a certain standard, it must be a certain standard.
Hiring Employees and Employee Satisfaction
Having a positive brand image can mean that employees are happier with the goods/ services that they provide since they feel proud of the quality they are producing. If your brand is perceived to be handling their goods well it can also lead to people thinking that your brand will handle its employees well, leading to a greater pool of talent come hiring time.
The branding processes
Defining brand values helps you convey what principles your brand abides by and what it places importance in. Having values that align with consumers can help them resonate with your brand and guiding principles. Brand values can give purpose and direction to the brand meaning that employees have something more tangible to work towards and consumers have a better sense of what they are contributing towards.
Brand drivers are elements of your brand identity that affect buying intention. These are the factors that attract consumers and keep them loyal. For example, a brand driver may be ‘clean’ thus everything, from your logo right down to your typography, would be designed to be uncluttered and well-spaced. By consuming a brand with elements that the customer finds beneficial, the customer is in effect consuming the benefit and assigning that benefit to themselves. If you consume an eco-friendly brand, you yourself are eco-friendly. If you consume a family-orientated brand, you yourself are family-orientated. Ask yourself:
- What basic functionality do you want to provide to the consumer?
- How do you want your product to make the consumer feel?
- How do you want your product to make others perceive your consumer?
Once you establish your core identity and brand promise you can then attach something to that promise to make recalling it easier for the customer, such as a product, service, feature, or company name. The aim is to get people to associate certain things with your brand so that they consider your goods before that of competitors.
Brand architecture is how your brands, products, and services are all linked together and is often drawn in a hierarchy resembling a tree. It is important to establish this hierarchy in branding to ensure that a secondary brand does not overshine a primary brand. The most popular branding strategy especially for those brands just establishing themselves as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is branded house. Branded house, also known as the one-firm brand strategy, maintains a primary brand. Other goods and services are a subset of that brand, never overshadowing the main brand whilst being easily recognizable as part of that brand. One of the biggest examples of this is Apple whereby sub-brands such as ‘iPhone’, ‘iPad’ and ‘iMac’ are easily recognized as part of the Apple brand from the concatenation of the ‘i’ at the start. Here at STUDIO DAM, we will ensure that we use the branding strategy best suited to your brand not just for how you are now but also for how you could grow to be.
In Jennifer Aaker’s Five Dimensions of Brand Personality she identifies five personality traits that brands should have for consumers to express themselves through the use of the brand. These personality traits are listed as:
Here at STUDIO DAM, we will work with you to ensure that these five personalities, as well as others more specific to your brand, are conveyed through your branding strategies.
Segmentation is how we divide your consumers into groups in order to produce a more targeted marketing strategy. There are four different types of segmentation :
- Demographic: Physical characteristics such as age, gender, hair colour, height, and weight.
- Geographic: Where they are. Which country do they live in? Are they rural or do they prefer the city?
- Behavioral: What they do such as buying patterns and lifestyles.
- Attitudinal: Needs or benefits the consumer is looking for to be fulfilled emotionally and in their purpose.
Once you understand your consumer base you can understand the benefits for which you are trying to appeal to them. These benefits can be grouped into three categories:
- Functional: How the product helps you with everyday tasks.
- Economic: How the product helps you save money and/ or time.
- Emotional: How the product makes you feel better.
A value proposition exists to convey key elements such as who your main customer is, what they need and what you provide them with in order to give you a competitive advantage. This is done not only to convey to the consumer who your brand is but also to your employees in order to create a unified front by working toward a similar goal.
Here we will help you name a brand in a way that best reflects the values, drivers, and characteristics of your brand in a way that is easy to say and memorable.
Here we give you a visual identity that helps create the look and feel that you want to be associated with your brand. Here are some of the ways that we do this:
- Logo: This is often a consumer’s first experience of the brand so it is important to get right. You can see some of the logos we have already designed so you can be sure the standard we will present you with is high. We will also create different versions of the logo called logo lockups to be used in different environments and usage.
- Style guides: These include colour palettes and typefaces, fonts & typographic elements, and image guidelines.
- Tone of voice: How the language expressed by the brand and about the brand should be used in order to convey the brand. Should the language be formal or more conversational?
It is important to communicate the brand’s identity internally in order to ensure that the products and services you are providing are constantly in line with your brand’s promise. If your staff does not understand the brand they can not communicate the brand promise.
- Styling/Content Creation for Social Media: There are numerous social media platforms that your brand can use to convey your brand promise to other people. We can help you decide what social media platform would best target your market segment and how to use it effectively and on-brand.
- Website Design: With covid keeping people at home and technology advancing at dizzying rates it is more important than ever to have a strong online presence and place of sales. Having an unattractive or boring website can mean the difference between a sale taking place or not. It can also be someone’s only experience of the brand and the brand promise. A professional website will result in the consumer believing in a professional product.
- UI/UX Design: Both User Interface and User Experience design considerations are vital in order for the user to enjoy both visual and functional interactions with your product. If a website looks amazing but does not navigate intuitively it may cause the user frustration meaning the brand promise may not be fulfilled. Likewise, if a website interacts cleanly with the user but is not in keeping with that which is outlined in style guides then the brand is not conveyed, confusing the user.
- Collateral print and packaging:
- First visual encounter: Often before the customer even sees the product they see the packaging. It is in these early moments the customer decides whether to buy the product or not. When each second in these first encounters could mean the difference between an interested customer and just another bored consumer, it is important to make it count with packaging specifically designed to portray your brand aesthetic.
- First physical encounter before you buy the product: Your packaging is an important part of your first physical encounter. Bad packaging can result in the product being damaged before the user even gets to try it out. Such a thing happening can entirely ruin the user’s perception of the brand.
- Guide functional encounters with the product: good packaging can also make or break the user’s first encounter with the product from the effectiveness of which it communicates product information such as how the product is meant to be used and ingredients lists. Using the product in the right way will ensure the product is working in the way which is most effective.
Developing a branding strategy can be a long and daunting process and getting even one step wrong could completely ruin your brand’s reputation or result in the brand never picking up momentum. Here at STUDIO DAM, we have the knowledge and experience to help you succeed. We will work not just for you but with you to ensure that it is your vision that is realized as to what your brand could be.