Branding (or brand management) are actions aligned with the positioning, purpose and values of a brand. Its objective is to awaken sensations and create conscious and unconscious connections, which will be crucial for the customer to choose your brand at the time of purchase decision.
In other words, the objective of Branding is to conquer not only the mind of the consumer, but also the heart of him.
Think for 1 minute about a brand.
In addition to thinking about its name, colors, letters, shapes and sounds, have you thought about the sensations and memories it produces?
That is exactly the function of branding: awaken sensations and create conscious and unconscious connections , which will be crucial for the customer to choose your brand at the time of purchase.
All the actions that the brand does, from the creation of the logo, choice of design, typography, speech and music, to name a few, are part of the construction of the personality of the brand in the client’s mind through perceptions and feelings.
These practices promote not only the product, but also its value creation. It is more than just a product, it is who the brand is in its essence. It is the creation of meaning through symbols.
A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, together, are responsible for making the customer choose one product or service over another » Seth Godin
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What is the importance of Branding?
Globalization has increased competition, and today, demonstrating a brand differential becomes necessary, as well as having an objective that goes beyond positioning.
The company Ana Couto Branding, carried out an investigation (available in Portuguese) with clients and has discovered that when a brand manages to really connect with its client through its purpose, the perception of prices can change: 67% of the People said they were very willing to buy a product from a brand that was connected to their purpose and would therefore pay a higher price for their products.
Having personality and a purpose, identifying with people, with their stories, with their causes and promoting positive experiences are the keys to brand recommendation, which today is one of the most powerful tools for acquiring new customers .
Brand management: the new marketing?
At the RD Summit (our Marketing event in Brazil), specialist Ana Couto spoke about the crucial role that Branding plays in building the brand image and commented that “being a good company is the new brand” .
The lecturer began the presentation by saying that the world is VUCA, which are the initials of 4 words that characterize the new world, where brands must be attentive to changes and mainly open to them:
- Volatile (volatile): everything changes very fast at all times.
- Uncertain (uncertain): we have no guarantees, we have many uncertainties.
- Complex: it is not linear, it is confusing and anxious.
- Ambiguous: we have many options and the limits have been dissolved.
In this scenario, the ability to adapt to the new ecosystem that is presented is the main quality of a company of the future.
The new value cycle for brands is the ability to unlearn what they already know and relearn based on this new scenario. Today, the purpose has become the value itself.
The 3 waves of VUCA
The great challenge for companies is to adapt to the VUCA world and, from this new paradigm, generate value. This is happening and is divided into 3 waves:
- 1st wave: brands that focus on sales, promotion, price, recognition and profits.
- 2nd wave: brands that manage to create emotional connections with people and their stories, that are relevant and generate value.
- 3rd wave: VUCA brands, which work with the idea of creating an ecosystem of value with a purpose and people committed to it.
And it is precisely in the third wave that there are the companies that have achieved the most value with brand management in recent years. If you’re not thinking about this, it may be time to do a rebrand.
Ana Couto cited Airbnb as an example, which is a company that meets all the requirements of a VUCA brand, with the clear purpose of “making you feel at home anywhere”.
In addition, she is truly committed to a social cause related to assisting refugees around the world. And even with the crisis faced by Covid-19, Airbnb has not abandoned that cause.
Branding as a differentiation strategy for your business
Alex Lima, CEO of Glóbulo, challenges the basic notion that people have of what exactly the brand is. He does not accept the concept that limits the term to a company’s graphic brand and related visual elements. The definition of it, given in the RD Summit, is the following:
Branding is the relationship between the brand and the customer, and between the brand and the community in which it is inserted “.
Alex Lima also believes that his brand must have a declared enemy.
Right at the beginning of the presentation, Alex Lima proposed a challenge. He called an audience member and asked him to rate how much the same pair of diamond earrings cost at three different jewelry stores. Showing images of each one, he showed how the perception of value varies not only with the brand, but with everything that surrounds it.
Standards should be avoided and deconstructed, according to the speaker. He cited the case of a natural gas supply company, an invisible business. How to wear something that cannot be seen on the brand? The solution was to connect the brand with energy, in the sensory sense of the term, differentiating itself from the usual market.
Alex also commented on the Havaianas case. For decades, they were just sandals that “don’t warp, don’t loosen straps, and don’t smell.” In other words, the marketing focused on the physical characteristics of the product, which created the association with something cheap and that should be avoided by the upper classes.
Today, however, Havaianas have taken over the world and are distributed, for example, in gift bags at the Oscars. What started to attract the biggest celebrities on the planet to rubber sneakers? That they are from Brazil, the fresh way of being. This is currently the brand of the product, which remains essentially the same.
Deliver what is promised is Branding
At different points in the conference, Alex makes the point that a good branding strategy will only survive if the company delivers what it promises. It is not an advertising promise, but a complete relationship with the consumer.
This implies a constant concern for the reputation of the brand. Fulfilling the first promises allows the client, in the future, to have the confidence that you will keep them again. For Alex Lima, this is also Branding.
he recalled the recent case of a juice company and a popsicle company that were sold as alternatives to the main commercial brands. They had a Storytelling that referred to the “old days”, with almost organically produced inputs.
The stories, however, did not match much with reality and the process was not so “good”. The products were indeed of good quality, but what impressed consumers was the brand. You can’t make up that kind of promise:
Why invent something, if you can be something? ».
Brand management can be your best friend
In the age of social media, recommendations from friends play a key role in consumer purchasing decisions. The old word of mouth is amplified for thousands of people, be it on Facebook or Instagram.
Alex Lima pointed out that Branding can make your brand be seen as a friend. He used the Curitiba City Council fan page as an example, which became a success by lightly tackling the problems of city administration, even the most bureaucratic. To this day, it is a benchmark for public administration social media accounts.
The Branding process is more than being known and pleasant, it is becoming reliable ».
However, a communication strategy that is not tied to royal service makes no sense. The speaker recalled the case of a bank that began to use “popular” expressions on social media, which contrasted with the serious style of branches and service in real life.
As stated before, it did not deliver as promised and therefore did not work.
Branding is purpose
Alex used a video from cosmetics brand Lush to talk about the purpose. In it, the actors stage what would happen if humans were subjected to the same tests in which animals are used in the cosmetic industry. The intention was really shocking.
Thus, Lush presented, at the same time, his purpose and his enemy. It identifies itself as a company that produces soaps without resorting to cruelty. The stores are beautiful, the presentation of the products is charming, but what defines the brand is this cause: without this purpose, Lush does not exist.
The brand goes beyond what we see, it is what we feel ».
Several other companies transform their business for their own purposes, even if they are not activists. Farm, for example, sells the style of the girl from Rio. Tesla Motors produces computers on wheels. These are examples of how the Branding proposal influences culture, values and strategy.
5 Branding Books You Need To Read
As we have seen, Branding is increasingly fundamental to the business. It is necessary to develop strategies to manage a brand in the best possible way, ensuring that the message is captured (and promoted) correctly by the public.
To help you in this mission, we have separated 5 Branding books that are required reading.
1. Strategic brand management
Written by Kevin Lane Keller, a Marketing professor who has taught at renowned institutions such as Stanford and Berkeley, the book is a landmark on the subject.
A must-read for Marketing and Communication professionals, the book is a classic. It is always present in the bibliography of disciplines and courses on Brand Management, being not only a reference for managers and entrepreneurs, but also for students and the academic environment. It is ideal for those who seek greater support in theories to make their decisions
2. On Branding
David Aaker is considered a branding guru. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Berkeley, California, and has written several books and articles on brands and their management strategies.
In On Branding, the language is simple, and the reading can be done by topic (depending on what you want to know first) or linearly. The book covers the 20 fundamental principles that Aaker says help build a strong brand.
Much more than a name and a logo, [a brand] is the promise of an organization to a customer to offer what the brand represents not only in terms of functional benefits, but also emotional, self-expressive and social ». David Aaker
In Emotionomics, Dan Hill explores the relationship between feelings and business opportunities. In general, the author shows how emotions are the key to any decision making.
Hill also analyzes that what people say and do is often dissociated and indicates ways of correctly identifying feelings. According to him, emotions are a strategic way to develop effective marketing strategies.
As Branding is directly related to the consumer experience and the impression that the brand will leave to the public, this work has a lot to teach on the subject.
4. Building Strong Brands
Another book written by Guru David Aaker, but this time in association with Erich Joachimsthaler, author of several papers on digital strategies, innovation and Branding, and founder and CEO of Vivaldi.
Inspired by global brands from the United States and Europe, the book is a great study of these brands and shows the main strategies that can be used to differentiate yourself from the competition and create a lasting brand.
While the work focuses on very large foreign companies, this work has useful and relevant advice that can boost the brand management of any business. It is worth mentioning that when we talk about Branding, the maxim “act locally, think globally” also applies.
5. Brandjam – Humanizing Brands Through Emotional Design
In this work, Gobé -specialist in Branding and Content Marketing- argues that there is a consumer audience that is very tired of the current market, and that we are living a moment that asks for innovation when it comes to selling something.
The author explores ways of associating brands and products with the emotional side and the buyer, seeking to better understand it from psychology and with the thoughts of Spinoza, Carl Jung and William Reich. According to Gobé, the consumer should not be interpreted as a target, but as someone with whom a relationship is going to be built; and the first consumer must always be the person who sells the product.
The good thing about the work is that there are already real tests of the Brandjam application. This is the case of the Dove brand, for example, which responded very well to the concepts developed by the author and gained the public’s trust.
Branding: start with good digital marketing
The Millennials, or Generation Y , as they are commonly known, are revolutionizing the job market and redefining the relationship between businesses and consumers.
More concerned with social and environmental issues, this generation shows great interest in knowing the production process of the goods they consume, as well as what ideas and values companies defend. It is necessary to understand what is consumed along with the service or product.
In addition, the explosion of social media has given buyers a lot of voice. If in the past the media were largely responsible for disseminating information about products and services, today this role is much more in the hands of consumers.
The best way to start chatting with these consumers is through digital marketing. To take certain steps along this path, you can access our Definitive Guide to Digital Marketing. Simply complete the form below to receive it for free and generate a better strategy for your brand.
How to do a good job of Branding with Digital Marketing
The concept of Branding arose before Digital Marketing, when the internet did not exist, and brands, to achieve positioning, were related to the public through traditional advertising (radio, TV and print media)
With the transformation of the scene due to technology, Digital Marketing has brought new possibilities for Branding. Some experts talk about the concept of Digital Branding, which is basically doing Branding on the web.
Nowadays, a brand can choose super personalized channels and with lower costs to speak with its public, and thus offer different forms of purchase.
Now, to carry out these Branding actions on the internet, there are different paths. Here we divide them into two main groups:
1. Visual identity
They are the visual representations of the brand that help create an identity in the minds of consumers: typography, colors, design.
The more aligned, the more likely and faster the connection will be with the people who search for your products.
- Make an adaptation of the logo:
It is very important that the design of the brand is at the time of brand creation so that it is easy to apply on the web.
The file formats that are used for printed materials are different from those used online. So when you go to create your brand, think about its applications and readability when it is smaller.
The manual must contain all the colors that the brand can use and their codes, the name of the font and how its applications should be both in vertical and horizontal position.
- Choose a style unit:
Look for examples of images that have visual unity to create a style for your brand. That style should always be the same, so that the person recognizes your communication without you having to say your name.
Look at Mr. Wonderful’s Instagram profile. That’s what we’re talking about, visual unit:
The strategy transmits non-visual values, transmitting its purpose.
The creation of positive perception through strategy is at a deeper level, in which the client identifies not only with the style, but also with the beliefs of the brand, which makes a stronger connection.
- Personality of the brand:
Does Your brand have personality? What are its qualities? What defines it? And if it were a person, what would it be like? These questions help create a clearer mental picture.
What is the brand language like? It’s fun? Is it specialized? What you need is to align your language to your audience. Find what words they use.
Language – written or by emojis – are very strong and empathetic tools.
Where is your audience? What are the channels they use to communicate with other brands and people?
There are many channels that you can use such as WhatsApp, email or social networks.
Remember that you don’t need to be in all of them, you can choose those that have a strategic role for your brand and for business growth.
We recommend that you start with the creation of a website, to include your company in the search results that customers make.
Remember that all the news that your brand launches must be available on your site at the same time.
The second step is to create a fanpage on Facebook, which is today the largest online community in the world. Facebook is a great channel for customer relations and outreach.
A good content strategy not only helps your brand stand out in the search, it also makes it have visibility and gain authority in the medium.
Applying the concepts of visual unity of Branding, remember that your content must be personalized with the identity of the brand in all channels and materials.
We hope this whole trip has been to your liking. The idea was to give you new concepts and tools to work on the Branding of your company. Do you feel identified with any brand? Do you also think that they stand out for their purposes? Write in the comments below. ????
This article was published on September 23, 2020 and updated on October 15, 2021.
- Digital Marketing Strategy