What is a brand and how can you build a strong one?
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 9 June 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A brand is the most critical marketing tool a company uses to stay top in the mind of prospective customers. Businesses and companies in the market use their brand and brand strategy to stand out from their competitors or similar products. Building a brand is important to a company's sales and long-term growth, but building a strong brand takes time and consistent action. In this article, we explain what a brand is, the types of brand, how to build a successful brand identity and the benefits of having a strong brand.
What is a brand?
A brand is the name, design, symbol or any concept attached to a product and/or service to give it an identity. A brand makes it easier for a company to communicate and market its products or services. Examples of brand names are Adidas, Jacuzzi, Ford, BMW, Xerox and KFC. Brand names are different from product names except that, with time, some brands successfully become product names.
Related: How to brand yourself in 10 steps
Types of brands
There are many types of brands and these vary between different organisations. As brands are important marketing assets, knowing how they're different is useful when selecting an approach. Below are the brand types across various industries:
Personal brands are brands people build around themselves. It's an effective way to build a professional image around oneself and attract better career opportunities through traditional and social media. This happens by showing your expertise, connecting with people to gain their trust and distributing content that establishes your authority. Many experts don't classify a personal brand as a type of brand, as it's often related to individuals and not a particular business model. They also rarely encourage personal brands, as it becomes impossible to stay authentic.
A product brand is a marketing tool for goods only. It includes the concept, packaging, logo and a symbol that serves as a form of identification. As a brand owner, having a product brand can help your products stay in the mind of your targeted buyers. This type of brand differs from the uses of a product and is a marketing tool that aims to differentiate, by any means possible, from similar products on the market.
You can use a corporate brand to completely distinguish a company from its competition while pushing forward quality products, values and projects to the public. A corporate brand promotes a brand name rather than a specific product or individual. On both local and global platforms, a corporate brand involves making decisions that align with the needs of the market the business serves.
Related: Creating a healthy corporate culture
A service brand is similar to a product brand except that it promotes service-based businesses only. Examples of this are subscription companies like Netflix and Virgin. Service branding, as a marketing tool, takes time to build, but you can rely on technology to drive across a brand's message.
You can also refer to a public brand as a government brand. Public organisations like the government use this type of brand to promote services or activities that affect citizens, entities and companies. It may surprise you to learn that this type of brand exists, especially if you believe the government has no business investing time in branding. The government offers public services, so having a public brand helps them to gain trust and shape their image for future use.
How to build a successful brand identity
A brand identity is the most useful asset a company can own. That makes it important to focus on building a brand in addition to launching a business. Building a brand identity is a process that requires diligence and consistency. Below are the steps to building a successful brand identity:
1. Identify the company's purpose
Most successful brand owners today have core messages upon which they build their brand. It's important when forming a brand's identity to build it on the company's core purpose and passion. This means identifying why a brand exists, why it's different and the problems you intend to solve. Being able to solve a problem with a product or service often influences whether people would give attention to a brand. For instance, if your passion is to influence the shoe industry, you can build a brand around creating comfortable shoe wears for all genders.
2. Evaluate the competition
There's always something to learn from competitors' brands when trying to build a successful brand identity that differentiates you from them. Study the messages and concepts that have helped them over the years. You can get insights from their customer reviews, social media activities and marketing strategies.
3. Identify the prospective audience
Building a successful brand lies more with knowing the prospective audience. First, identify the segments of the market that your product and/or services appeal to the most. This helps you to frame the brand's purpose and message in the most effective way. You can identify an audience by the problems they want to solve, their age, sex, education, social and marital status and economic capacity. These factors influence how you define and build a brand.
4. Craft a brand mission and vision statement
Once you've identified the problem that the business wants to solve and chosen a prospective audience, it's time to craft a mission and vision statement. These cover what a brand wants to be and the impact it aims to make. It's also helpful to create a statement using words familiar to the audience you want to serve.
5. Identify the selling features and benefits of the brand
As there are products and services behind every brand, building a successful brand includes identifying the deeper benefits of its products. You start by looking at the features of your products and explaining how they improve the customers' lives, save them money and boost their confidence. Those are the things that matter to a target audience.
6. Put a personality behind it
Every successful brand has a relatable personality behind it. Market loyalty that leads to a successful brand is built around an authentic relationship between businesses and their customers. A tip for putting a personality behind the brand includes using conversational voice, telling stories and asking questions.
7. Have a logo and tagline
Visuals are necessary when building a successful brand. People tend to remember a brand's logo more than texts. Be prepared to invest in hiring creative designers and copywriters to work on a business logo and tagline, respectively. There are popular logos and taglines like Netflix's 'See what's next' that help a business stand out across industries and remain in customers' minds.
8. Market the brand
Invest in the visibility of the brand. Once you have established a brand and its core values, begin to raise awareness for it. Simple ways in which you can do this are creating content around a brand, engaging in social conversations and using influencer marketing. Another way you can market the brand is by encouraging its existing customers to write reviews about its products/services and share content with their contacts.
9. Stay consistent
A successful brand takes time to grow. Therefore, it's important to remain consistent. Keep the brand impression you want to create simple and take steps to show an audience or customers what they are. It may be necessary to return to the drawing board and make changes based on progressive learning, but try not to leave customers confused about what you're doing.
10. Measure its performance
A strong brand is purposeful and carefully planned. It's crucial to measure its performance every step of the way, as this helps you to know what you're doing right or wrong. With measurement, you're able to direct your efforts where necessary.
Benefits of having a strong brand
A strong brand boosts the value of a business, but having a strong brand takes time and consistent effort. A strong brand can benefit a business in the following ways:
Increased customer loyalty: Successful brands create a feeling of attachment between their customers and their business. The more the brand focuses on creating a better customer experience in the market, the more customer loyalty increases.
Free word-of-mouth marketing: A strong brand helps you cut costs of marketing as customers are more eager to associate with a business. It can also increase customer loyalty, which means that customers are more likely to talk about your products/services with family and friends.
Reduced price sensitivity: When you invest in building a strong brand, it becomes easier to increase the price as quality increases, especially as loyal customers may be more willing to continue to pay for products.
Promising marketing ROI: When you invest in building a strong brand, it becomes easier to get the best return on advertising. A loyal customer base may embrace any marketing effort you invest in with money and time.
Quality employee network: Creative talents are more interested in working at companies with a strong brand because it gives their careers leverage.
Increased growth and sales: The ultimate goal of every company is to grow and increase sales. Investing in a strong brand makes that possible and faster.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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