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Brands and Branding – What, Why and How

Brands and branding have become catchwords for getting attention or impressing people. What exactly do these words signify? Are they really important for a business? If so, how do you build your own brand? These are the issues discussed in this article.

What Is a Brand?

A brand is more than a logo. It is the complete package of impressions that you have about a business created through your experiences with it. The logo, name, a catchy slogan and the overall layout of its communications are just some elements of the physical dimension of the brand that most people recognize. The physical elements go further to cover such entities the company’s products, plant and sales outlets.

The physical is only one dimension of branding. More important is the psychological dimension, which is built up not only from the physical elements mentioned above but also from what you hear about the company and its activities, the experiences you have when dealing with the company and its people and also how well the company’s products meet your expectations.

Importance of the Brand to a Business

A package of good impressions about a company makes people trust that company and its products. The brand distinguishes a company from its competitors and makes its customers feel that they are getting something extra from the company. These translate into brand loyalty that enables the company to charge premium (or at least, higher) prices for its products. Once a customer has become loyal to a particular brand, it is difficult to get that person to switch to another brand.

For the owner of a recognized brand, brand loyalty means:

Higher volumes if the product price is kept competitive, or

Higher profits if a premium price strategy is followed, and

Higher return on investment either way.
Businesses can also leverage successful brands in different ways.

They can extend the brand to other, related and even unrelated, products.

When the brand achieves a critical mass of loyalty, it becomes a franchise that can be marketed. Think of the range of products associated with Disney characters.

A brand is something competitors cannot take from you. It will survive many events that can destroy an unbranded business, such a technology change. The brand owner can introduce new technology products under the same brand.