The impact of brand marketing on sales performance
Part two - Understanding the principles of branding and how to obtain great customer perception
This is the second article about the importance of brand marketing and how it can drive sales.
Part one – A quick recap
It’s crucial to have a solid foundation for your business, and great marketing is a big part of that. In the first part of this series, we talked about the importance of gathering market and competition data, as well as outlining your products or services and determining competitive price points. All of these factors contribute to building a successful business.
Although branding and marketing are often lumped together, they are actually two separate fields. They are sometimes ranked in terms of importance, but the reality is that both are crucial for a company’s success and should complement each other. Essentially, branding refers to a company’s identity, while marketing involves the methods used to convey that identity via focused sales activity. You can read the full first article here.
The outline of a brand
Now that you have identified your products or services and your success criteria, it’s time to enter the market, but how do you build the audience perception of your company and what you do? Your image has to be matched to your business model and your company culture; this all comes under branding. So how do you build a successful brand identity?
A brand is what sets a company apart from competitors who offer similar products or services. It represents the company’s identity and story. The purpose of branding is to establish a place in the minds of the intended audience and become their preferred choice for business dealings.
Brands are a powerful tool for companies to communicate their values and vision. Branding defines what the company stands for and why. Additionally, a brand encompasses the overall experience that a person has when interacting with a business, whether as a shopper, customer, social media follower or observer.
Developing a brand is more than just creating a logo or a tagline. Large corporations around the world invest millions of pounds in developing a suitable logo or tagline, but the real essence of branding is simplicity. Your first step in branding should be to create your logo, which will help potential customers recognise you. The logo must have a positive and contemporary look, and the colours should be chosen carefully to create a positive visual impact.
The Nike branding
As an example, let’s take a look at Nike, the famous sports brand. The logo is a simple tick, but we forget that a tick is one of the most positive symbols, this signifies success, correctness and positivity. The design of the tick conveys movement, speed and forward direction.
Nike draws its name from the Greek goddess of success and conquest on the battlefield. Founders Bowerman and Knight aimed to infuse this mythological inspiration into every product. The brand’s iconic tick logo, coupled with its name, conveys a strong message, but alongside this is the tagline “Just do it”. Nike’s branding strategy emphasises positivity and a can-do attitude.
Nike utilises their visual image and tagline to convey the hero’s journey and victory. In most cases, I would classify Nike’s ads as corporate ads that provide an image of success when you purchase their products, rather than direct product ads. However, the Nike Air product can be considered a direct product ad.
Nike is now one of the most recognised brands in the world along with Apple, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Google. Nike is known for high-quality products that will help competitors perform well in any sport, but it is now also a fashion icon that draws great attention. So, in the case of Nike, great marketing and branding have built a very successful business.
Your brand concepts
To establish a successful business identity, it’s essential to focus on the core principles of brand building. These fundamentals must be ingrained in your company’s culture and values, and your teams should have a thorough understanding of your branding and its significance. While some organisations may have a mission statement, I believe it’s best suited for only internal communication to help foster a stronger business.
The key points of branding for consideration:
o The value-added message.
o Your internal business culture.
o Your products or services, and price points.
o Total marketing and competition data.
o Target market business sectors.
o Regional business culture.
o Focused customer benefits and vision.
o Audience reach and perception.
o Graphic design and image development.
o Positive tagline.
The brand brief
Building a business brand is not easy, it is not just your company name and an icon you downloaded from Google. Build your vision of how you want your customers to view your business and make this all relevant to your target sector. Take your time and collate as many ideas as possible, involve your team and write a full brand brief, this will help outline what your brand truly is and how it is perceived.
Another point to take into consideration, how do your competitors transmit their brand and what message does this give? Study your top 10 competitors, how do they look, and what is the message? Never copy another brand. Create and design something completely different because your branding must be better and make the audience want to do business with you.
Poor branding can kill a business, so never underestimate the power of great branding.
In part three of this series, we will look at how your brand and company is placed in the market and how do you make a brand great?
This is a guest blog which contains the views of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the IoD.