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The essentials of good branding

good branding


The essentials of good branding

The importance of branding is well known, yet it is also quite easy to get it wrong. For branding to be effective one must first understand what it is and to what end it is directed. Branding refers to the unique image a company wishes to attribute to itself in a manner that the company and the brand become synonymous with each other. Good branding ensures longevity, customer loyalty and a unique identity in the market. In many ways branding is a delicate balancing act wherein the company has to position itself in a manner that is most consistent and easily identifiable to their customer base. Several factors determine how it is done.

Visual branding is very important and can work wonders for a brand. A very good example of exceptional visual branding is Amul Butter’s Amul Girl who endorses its Utterly Butterly tagline. Initially conceptualized in 1967 as a response to its rival brand Polson’s butter girl, Amul Girl is an example of successful visual branding. However, what kept Amul Girl endeared to its customer base through the years is, apart from its humour and relevant content, also the oligopolistic diary products market in which Amul was (and still is) a top player, especially in the urban sectors. This brings us to the importance of user experience for good branding. Good and fulfilling user experience and customer to company interaction is also vital for good branding.

In order for a customer to fully identify with a brand several factors play a role. Innovation and being the first in the game plays a definitive part. Every company dreams of a situation where the brand becomes the name for the product itself for the general populace. That is branding at its most absolute. Think Xerox for instance which became synonymous with the photocopy industry to the extent that photocopy shops are, till date, called ‘xerox shops’ in several places.

One key enabler of good branding is the emotional connect it has with its customer base and the manner in which it communicates its core business ethos. Today Apple is a lesson in wholesome branding for several other players. Apple’s branding strategy is rooted in emotions and the experience it brings to its customers at a lifestyle level. When Apple entered the market it marketed itself as a company that was challenging the existing thought and mindset. It’s branding was hooked on the company being a challenger in its sector that would bring new and innovative products into the horizon. That emotional experience has remained embedded in the users’ impression across generations.

Apple’s successful branding strategy also brings us to the debate of brand evolution. A brand must be able to display both consistency and evolution.  While this may seem two contradictory ideas they are actually not so when it comes to brand placement, especially in the tech sector that sees progress and evolution at very regular intervals. While Apple was first marketed as a ‘device company’ it has successfully moved beyond that branding to include digital content services (with iTunes, app stores etc) as well. However, its key brand ethos that is simplicity, innovation and hassle free design for the everyday man remains consistent at its core.

While there are several examples of successful brands what are the essentials that one must keep in mind when one embarks on this?

Brand equals experience

No matter how well a company markets itself visually or otherwise at the end of the day a brand equals the experience it gives the customer. If the experience is inadequate, the brand is inadequate as well. Therefore, customer-company interaction is important to gauge if the brand is being received in the right way via experience.

Product design is also branding

How you design your product will become synonymous with the brand. If product design is unique, the brand will remain imprinted in the user’s mind for a long time. When it comes to designing a product there should be a definitive end that leaves more than a superficial impression. Think about Apple’s designs, that is one of their principal branding strategies. Apple promises users hassle-free products that stand out for their minimalist designs. Unique product design is branding in itself.

Standing out is important

That is the entire point of branding. If you are standing in, you are invisible and therefore, not taken into account in the larger picture. Branding differentiates the brand in the competitive market and good branding gives an edge over others in the race.

Unique but rooted to its customer base

While the branding must be unique it must also not lose sight of who their target customer base is. Several companies get carried away by the idea of a good concept and lose sight of customer expectations. Be it a motion advertisement or a newsletter, the brand must be easily identifiable to the customer.

Consistent, yet evolving 

In order to ensure customer loyalty and longevity a brand must evolve with times to accommodate the shifts in consumer patterns. However, this need not happen at the expense of it’s core branding strategy. It is in fact, the consistency of a brand to deliver exactly what it is expected to do that ensures the most loyal and consistent customer base.

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