Branding is quite possibly the most underrated aspect of marketing.
We oft lessen it to a logo, as though a logo alone is what would make a company’s brand powerful.
If we could ever compare branding to something we are able to see in our daily lives, it would be storytelling.
As Jonathan Gottschall so eloquently put it:
“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”
Therein lies the true value of branding; in a world which craves stories more than anything else, branding is a spark of magic.
It propels customers to imagine the richness of their lives which is only possible with a brand’s product.
Certainly, there are companies and business owners reluctant to accept branding as something they need.
Many marketers approach branding as though it’s an ordinary thing, causing companies and their brands to fall into oblivion.
In this article, we’ll discuss why brands allow companies to secure market share, enrich the lives of their audiences, as well as learn from powerful brands created by companies whose names we will never forget.
The Importance of Branding
It is not often the quality of your products that makes the customers buy them. The true reason lies in emotions that your brand sparks in your audience.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
They are drawn in by the story.
Consider Nike. What they sell are shoes; nothing particularly magical about them. However, Nike often emphasize their “why” – their raison d’etre.
They embody the archetype of the Hero, also known as the Warrior. As a result, they are their audience’s narrator, guiding light.
With Nike’s support, their customers feel as though they can achieve more with a single pair of sneakers.
Therefore, Nike strengthens trust between their company and their audience. They no longer embody a company; they embody a vision. Thus, they become friends, allies, entities that can be trusted.
Branding is the key to harnessing this power of storytelling; employing it means influencing the world and driving quantifiable business results.
Brand Identity Is a Powerful Story
Stories lie at the heart of any good brand. And when they are told in the right manner, they allow customers to identify with the company.
Crucial brand identity elements are:
- Logos, typography, colors, and packaging
- Reputation reinforcement
Yes, logos and typography are certainly elements of branding. We wouldn’t know Apple by anything other than its signature apple.
However, the logo must become a beacon that evokes emotions in the audience every time they cast their eyes upon it.
A brand, much like a person, cannot stand for one thing today, and for something entirely different tomorrow.
A good brand is unshaken by changes in the market. It adapts, it overcomes, but it never wavers in what it is.
Fashion has changed, but the feeling that Levi’s brand stirs in customers hasn’t. They are still the first company customers turn to when they look for durable and reliable jeans.
Their name has become synonymous with their product.
When customers turn to a brand, be that through purchasing a product or consuming content, they expect to hear the same voice every time: the voice that pulls them into a world full of stories of the people they could become.
Directing Customer Emotions with Brand Strategy
Notes would mean nothing to an orchestra if there wasn’t a conductor to set the pace, to help them create a swell of emotions with their instruments.
And much like a conductor, brand strategy directs the emotions of your customers.
First, brand strategy creates emotions by telling a story. Then, it directs them towards the desired outcome that helps companies fulfill their business goals.
Ultimately, brand strategy paves the way for success by combining:
- Visual elements
- Communication elements
- Business elements
It takes what could be best described as a cacophony of visual and intellectual stimuli, and crafts them into a relatable story.
Good brand strategy positioning allows businesses to not only secure their market share, but expand it.
Why isn’t it perceived as a substitute for Uber?
It certainly is. The pricing is similar, the service is identical.
However, Lyft’s branding is different. Where Uber is cold, Lyft is warm. Where Uber reduces interaction, Lyft encourages it.
Therefore, it does not matter that Uber and Lyft are two brands with similar offers.
They are brands with different stories.
Achieving Business Goals with Branding
A good brand, much like a good story, surprises us; it makes us think and feel.
When customers perceive your offer as a story, their value perception of your company grows.
And often, that is exactly what your business needs to capture more attention and come out as an absolute winner.