May 14, 2021|Kim's Blog, Marketing|
Brand basics (video)

This month’s short (nine minutes), fun video is on Brand Basics (Video) What is a brand? Why are brands so important?  How do you build a brand?

Hi. I’m Kim Tasso

Today I’d like to introduce you to the concept of brands – an important idea in marketing. And one that spans both rational and emotional side of customer and client behaviour.

Why are brands important?

There are three main reasons why brands are important.

Differentiation is the first reason. Many products and services are the same. It is hard for people to choose between them. However, a brand provides a perceived difference in a particular market for a particular product or service. It helps you stand out from the crowd.

Trust is the second reason.  A brand usually signifies that the quality will be consistent and as expected. It reduces the risk for the client. There used to be a saying the technology industry when I was younger “Nobody gets fired for choosing IBM”.

Superior profits If clients see no difference between competing products or services they will see it as a commodity and usually choose the lowest price. But if they perceive your brand as different and valuable to them then they will be prepared to pay more. And price is a major driver of profit. There is data to suggest that the brand leaders in most categories will also enjoy the highest profits. So it cost money to build a brand – but it also generates money too.

In professional services, where I spend a lot of time working, there is real importance for personal brands. Where an individual develops their own brand to set them apart from their competitors. And to some extent we ALL have to think about developing our personal brand through what we say and how we say it on social media and in person-to-person encounters.

Brand Basics (Video) What is a brand?

There are many definitions of brand. The simplest is that it is a future promise. Whereas reputation is the sum of everything you have done in the past.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon said: “Our brand is what people say about you when you leave the room”

A definition I like is – from Leslie de Chernatony & Malcolm McDonald in “Creating Powerful Brands”:

“An identifiable product, service, person or place augmented in such a way that the buyer or user perceives relevant, unique added values which match their needs most closely. Furthermore, the brand’s success results from being able to sustain these added values in the face of competition”.

I like it because it covers products and services and people (BrandMe and personal brands are very popular) and places which are important in the property sector.

There are consumer product brands – Like Diet Coke

Personal brands – Like David Beckham

And business brands – Like Amazon, Google and Microsoft (note often these are the organisation name rather than the product)

Creating a brand

There are many different theories and models on brand.

So I’d like to share an early model – the brand insistence model – developed originally by Brad Van Auken.

There are five elements:

  • Emotional connection – I know it isn’t rational and they are hugely expensive but I adore Prada and Mulberry handbags
  • Awareness – The target market needs to be aware of your brand
  • Relevant differentiation – Blue food might be different but is it relevant?
  • Accessibility – You need to be able to get your hands on the brand. Convenience.
  • Value – It’s not about the price – it’s about how valuable that brand is for you

Another model – by Kevin Lane Keller – considers rational and emotional factors in a different way:

  1. Salience (Who are you?)
  2. Performance and imagery (what are you?)
  3. Judgements and feelings (what about you?)
  4. Brand equity (what about you and me?)
  5. Market consequences

Brands may be reflected in logos and other images (I don’t need to tell you what brand is associated with this sculpture called “Spirit of Ecstasy” do I?). But in a service business it is all about how the people interact with you – think about the difference in the service you expect from British Airways compared to Virgin Atlantic

Some think of a brand as that which summarises your overall position in the market – covering, for example:

  • What you do (your value proposition)
  • How you do it (your capabilities and values)
  • Why you do (your purpose)

How do you build a brand?

Again, there are lots of models about how to build a brand. But most models use the following steps:

  1. Research (audit, market analysis, stakeholders, objectives)
  2. Strategy (focus, brand promise, positioning strategy, naming)
  3. Design (Logo, colours, rules)
  4. Touchpoints (physical, digital, environments, advertising and marketing)
  5. Assets (managing the assets, communications)

It can get a bit confusing when you need to be clear about things like brand name, brand essence, brand promise, brand positioning, brand personality, brand image and brand identity.

That’s a very fast introduction to brands. What are your favourite brands as a consumer? And how about your favourite business brands?

Thank you for watching and listening.

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