|Too many companies still perceive branding as a subcategory of marketing. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Marketing, sales, product development, human resources and strategy should be subject to branding.
Branding and management are two key components of any organisation.
– Marty Neumeier
Branding comes first. Then comes the marketing.
Branding and marketing are tightly connected, but let’s take a look at the main differences.
1. Branding answers the question WHY and focuses on the reason for which the company exists. Branding is an active creation and promotion of a person or company. It is about defining who you are as a company, what your mission is, what your values are and what makes you unique.
Marketing, on the other hand, answers the question HOW and focuses on how to reach customers.
Marketing is a set of tools, processes and strategies used to actively promote a product, service or company. Think of marketing as actions you take to reach customers and convince them to buy something from you.
2. Branding is a macro action, whereas marketing is a micro action.
3.Marketing attracts the customer’s attention, while branding is a way of keeping attention.
4. Marketing increases sales, whereas branding increases brand recognition and loyalty.
5. Marketing strategies come and go. Branding is long term and sometimes even eternal!
|Adidas promised that, by 2024, each pair of shoes and a piece of clothing would be produced using recycled polyester. These are macro actions. A micro action that brought the company closer to keeping this promise was to give 200 pairs of shoes for consumer testing. This action brought the company closer to achieving its long-term goal.|
Branding is the art of building relationships.
The basic rules of branding are the same, regardless of size or the type of a company
The same applies to steps that you need to take to create your brand. Everything becomes clear if you know the correct definitions of these terms. Brand is a gut feeling about the company, product or service. A brand defined this way is an important shift, not so much in terms of what it is, but on which side it is created. A brand is created by the customer and it exists only in his or her mind. In other words: your brand is not what you claim it is. It is what your customers think it is.
You have to look at your brand from the client’s perspective. Branding, on the other hand, is an activity that aims to build a relationship with the client and to create a feeling that will conform to our intention. It is like with people. For some of them, it is easy to make contact and build relationships, while others find it much harder. If you want to succeed, you must be in the first group.
The difference between various companies’ branding is the aspects that are emphasised in communication.
Micro and SME companies must emphasise their domination in a niche. Large companies should highlight their scale and credibility. Manufacturing companies should evoke trust in the product, while service companies should build trust in their employees.
Start-ups, the products or services of which are not benchmarked, should emphasise what their products or services are replacing.
|‘Business to Business is a misnomer. Businesses don’t buy anything. People do.’ – Dan Kennedy|
No matter what kind of branding we are talking about.
It does not matter if it is B2B or B2C, Employer Branding, or large company, a small company or start-up branding.
It is always about PEOPLE and not necessarily about clients or consumers, but about people with all their emotions, feelings and desires.
Instead of thinking what to do to make your customer buy what you have, it is better to start thinking about what you have to do to build a relationship between you and your customer and how to help him or her make a choice.
Remember that the aim of branding and your branding activities is to help the customer to make a decision.
THREE STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL BRANDING
1. Specify the non-business purpose of your company. You must know why you do the things that you do. A company without a non-business reason to exist, without its own mission, focused only on business, will not attract the best talents to the company and will not be able to attract customers. It will be also difficult to engage employers if you do not have a non-business goal.
2. Identify your customers and their real needs. Not only practical needs, but also psychological ones. The brand plays a very specific role in people’s lives. Your company should help people become who they want to be in their lives.
The question that a customer who wants to buy something is asking himself is: If I buy this product, who will it make me be?
3. Stand out from the crowd. Marty Neumeier, a world-class expert in branding, offers a simple test to see if you are unique in the market. You can do it yourself, but it is worth having painkillers because the test is simple, but finding the difference can give you a real headache. If you manage to do it, though, you are on your way to market success.
Fill in the sentence below:
“Our brand is the only ______ (enter the category), which ________ (enter the crucial differentiator)”
Here is the list of examples of companies that have found their differentiators and can inspire you:
1. Apple is the only company producing computers that guarantees high-quality design.
2.Nespresso is the only manufacturer of capsule coffee makers that make your kitchen look fashionable.
3. Prius is the only hybrid car that is a symbol of a commitment to the environment.
4. Air Bank (Czech Republic) is the only retail bank that draws up a one-page-long contract.
5. Swatch is the only watchmaker that combines functionality with entertainment.
Remember that all companies used to be where you are at the moment.
YOUR CLIENT EXPECTS DIFFERENCES
|‘You’re doing branding if you’re differentiating. If you aren’t differentiating, you may be doing something else.’ – David Brier|
You must make your brand DIFFERENT from your competitors on the market. Not a little different, but a lot. Small differences are not enough. In the eyes of customers, small differences make all companies look the same. If you are forced to lower your prices in order to compete, it is a sign that your brand lacks distinction. Stand out from the crowd and make the customer’s decision easier.
If customers realise that what you say and do is no different from what they have already had to deal with, they are very likely to look somewhere else, or to stay where they are now.
If anything is communicated to potential customers, they ask themselves a question:
It’s as simple as that.
If something is predictable for the customer, it is not surprising.
If it is not surprising, it is nothing new.
If it is nothing new, it is worthless.
So many companies still copy their competitors’ way of communication. That is the result of a certain way of thinking:
‘If other people (working in the same branch) do so, that means it should be done this way.’ Unfortunately, the truth is that, if you copy your competitors’ branding and marketing strategies, you end up in the sea of identicality and mediocrity.
Ask yourself: what do you do better, quicker, smarter? Do you do anything that is memorable? Do you offer a unique process, delivery model, technology, or do you provide a new solution for a typical problem?
YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPECT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THEM
|‘People pay $400 for a pair of Diesel jeans, even though they can buy five pairs of Levi’s jeans for the same price. There is no real difference between these products – all of them have zips, pockets, studs and they are made of high-quality material. So, what is the difference between them? The difference is the feeling of buying and wearing Diesel jeans. This is completely irrational, but this is what people do.’ – Richard Sauerman|
There is an old marketing saying: ‘the customer does not want to buy a hammer, he wants to drive a nail.’ A hammer is a tool to solve a customer’s problem. Similarly, your service or product is only a tool to solve the problem of your customer. Ask yourself what you sell and answer from the customer’s perspective. This is one of the most important questions, which helps to determine which side you are on. Are you on the side of your product or your customers and their needs? You’d better take your customer’s side. If you are men’s underwear manufacturer, what do your customers buy? It may be a social success or a unique comfort.
If you are a spa owner, your customer does not buy lying on the massage bed or spending time in a swimming pool. Maybe your customer buys a better feeling, good mood and, as a consequence, business success, or family happiness.
Remember! What you sell is not what your customer buys.
You must find such a solution to a problem that people will want to pay for it.
Fill in the following sentence:
I sell ___________ (a product, service), BECAUSE my customer wants _____________.
YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPECT THEY WILL ALWAYS RECOGNISE YOU
Imagine that it’s 1915 and you are working at Root Glass Company. One day you receive a competition brief with guidelines for designing a bottle.
The rules are as follows:
1. Our bottle should be the first one to be recognised… in the dark!
2. If our bottle breaks, people should be able to tell which company it belongs to,
3. There should be no problem to produce these bottles using currently available machines.
This task was given to Earl R. Dean, 105 years ago, and the bottle he created is the classic and now iconic Coca-Cola bottle.
The story of this bottle is a fantastic basis for discussion on branding, because theoretically every brand should be able to pass the split-into-pieces test.
Ask yourself the following questions:
You will recognise the Coca-Cola bottle even with your eyes closed.
Split your brand into pieces, one after another, and see what is left.
Why is it important for each element to be unique and distinctive?
1. Your customers also expect that they will always recognise you. Even if they do not see your logo.
2. Your logo is usually too small in communication.
3. The contact with your message usually does not last long. The first glance is decisive.
4. The customers sometimes come across only some elements of your visual identity.
Remember! Visibility, visibility and thrice visibility!
YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPECT THAT YOU EXIST NOT ONLY FOR MONEY
If you are starting a business, you have to start by defining its purpose- the reason why it exists. It is extremely important, because companies that focus only on profit, do not have any chance of attracting either the best employees or the best customers. Today, customers have a much deeper insight into the functioning of a company than in previous years. When it has a bigger or wider purpose, it engages all of the parties that are interested in it.
If your reason is FINANCIAL, no one (apart from you) is interested.
If your reason is a cliché, the customer does not care that you are trying to become “the best”, “the biggest”, or any other “the most”.
If you talk about quality, then be aware that it is only an entry ticket to the market. Your competitors also offer high quality.
Not every activity will help your brand grow. If you want to get involved in social issues, make sure they are naturally connected to the reason why your company exists and to its values and are not “pinned down” by force.
Ask yourself the following QUESTIONS!
YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPECT THAT YOU WILL DO MORE THAN YOU SHOULD
You can give 100% from yourself, but if you can give 110%, it will be something that people will remember and talk about. Why? There is a huge gap between “meeting the client’s expectations” and “helping in an emergency”.
There are numerous stories about the effects of going beyond customer service standards. Do you know the story of Joshie, the giraffe or Sutro, the teddy bear?
Both stories are about parents whose child lost its favourite teddy in a hotel. In both cases, the hotel did more than you could expect, and not only did they do everything to return the lost toys, but also created a story that calmed the children down.
What was the result? Toys were not lost, they just had longer holidays. Wouldn’t this change calm your child down?
|To Live and Deliver ‘Wow’
The Board of Zappos Family of Companies instructed all of the employees:
‘Spend as much time as you need’ on listening to and understanding thousands of people calling the customer service centre. Very often conversations about shoes turned into sincere discussions on all possible subjects. The longest phone connection to Zappos took almost 11 hours! Zappos is indeed fulfilling its mission to ‘live and deliver WOW.’ Unfortunately, Zappos is still a rarity. Many companies put up facades, use unnatural phrases, and employees do not know its value and mission.
Remember that, today, the key to building a genuine company and gaining market advantage is flexibility.
REMEMBER THAT YOU WIN IN THE CUSTOMER’S MIND, NOT ON THE MARKET.
We live in times when there are too many messages. There are also too many products with similar marketing characteristics. People are overloaded with information and, therefore, your communication should be extremely concise. You need to make it as simple as possible.
Decide to use only ONE WORD.
Why do most of the companies break the first law of marketing positioning, “the law of one word”?
Because companies’ marketers check what customers expect when they go to buy a specific product.
I’ll give you an example. What do clients expect from a new car?
They want reliability, good mileage, good looks, nice interior, driveability and a vehicle of a suitable size.
Car brands with a strong position on the market focus on one word, which they want to anchor in customers’ minds.
Here are some examples:
BMW – Driving
Mercedes-Benz – Prestige
Toyota – Reliable
Volvo – Safety
Porsche – Sportscar
Hyundai – Cheap
The key to getting into customers’ minds is called SACRIFICE. You must reduce the core of your brand to one idea or characteristic. Find an attribute that no one else in your category has and focus on it. People choose categories first, then they choose the brand.
Are you looking for a luxury car? Which brand comes to your mind?
The best way to get into customers’ minds is to put the word that defines your company into their minds.
A WORD OR IMAGE? WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT FOR POSITIONING OF YOUR COMPANY?
|In 1973, Lionel Standing, the psychology professor, carried out an experiment, during which the participants had to watch 10,000 images in five days. Each image was shown for five seconds. Later, the participants were shown pairs of images, which included the one that they had already seen and another that they had not. Of the images, 70% were recognised correctly.
The results of this experiment are impressive and it is difficult to imagine that people were able to remember 10,000 words or positioning keywords.
Positioning is about putting a word in the mind of the consumer and it is best done by means of visualisation. The image attracts the attention of the right cerebral hemisphere, which sends a message to the left hemisphere, ordering to read and remember the words accompanying the image.
You start with a word or a concept that you want to have in the mind of the recipient and then try to find a picture that can “stick” that word into his or her mind.
Many years ago, every cigarette brand in America was sold to both men and women. The Marlboro company chose a different strategy and decided to focus only on men.
Entering the market was communicated using “the visual hammer” – a cowboy. In America, the cowboy is seen as one of the most masculine characters. Today, Marlboro is the leading and most masculine cigarette brand in the world.
The verbal message is your nail and the tool that will help you put the word into the customer’s mind is the visual hammer. Both of these elements must work together!
|BMW has become the best-selling luxury car brand in the world thanks to the slogan ”Ultimate Driving Machine”. The keyword that BMW has nailed into the customers’ minds is “driving”. How did the company do this? By means of advertisements showing BMW cars driving on curvy roads, driven by happy drivers. First, the word “ride” appeared and the spots were designed to dramatise this main idea.|
Learn how to position your brand according to this concept and gain a market advantage.