“We need a cool new logo, new letterhead and new colours” potential clients tell us. “Our new manager doesn’t like our logo or letterhead and he’s asked us to rebrand”, they say.

……and that’s when I realise one of the most powerful aspects of marketing is also one of the most misunderstood.Every savvy business person knows branding is critically important, but few actually understand exactly what it is. Unfortunately, misconceptions are often exacerbated by many who incorrectly call themselves “branding experts”.

So to understand what branding is, let’s consider the following discussion I recently overheard in a retail store.

I was listening to a potential customer about to purchase a sports camera. They were comparing a GoPro against a camera with an unknown brand name. The GoPro was around $500 and the other around $199. The specifications were very similar and the salesperson was advising they were manufactured in the same factory. The customer purchased the $500 camera rather than the alternative.

Similarly, many people prefer flying one airline over the other, either Qantas or Virgin for example, even though the products are practically identical. Likewise, some choose to purchase Armani or Versace suits as opposed to more common brands at substantially lower cost, despite the quality and functionality of both products serving the same needs.

The power of branding was even more clearly demonstrated during a research study in which blindfolded subjects were asked to participate in taste tests. Whilst blindfolded, subjects advised they preferred the taste of one product over the other, however once the blindfold was removed and they saw the brands, they often changed their minds and suggested they actually preferred the taste of the product with the better known brand.

A brand creates perceptions and conjures up beliefs about a product or service and can make you feel either positively disposed or negative towards it. These feelings can be based on rational or emotional grounds.

A logo on the other hand, is a visual identification of a brand. Or put another way, the brand is the personality and the logo represents it. Only after defining a brand, will good brand agencies develop the logo, look and feel that best represents that brand. As an extreme example, think of the style of the promotional material developed for an opera at Sydney’s Opera House versus a rock band at the local pub. To reflect each brand’s personality, the style of the promotional material and the logo on each will be quite different.

“The mistake people make is thinking that the brand story is just about marketing. No the brand story is the strategy of the business. If you make your story better you make your strategy better.” Says Ben Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz a private venture capital firm in USA.

Branding agencies help companies fine tune and position their brands according to how the company would like to be perceived by its target market. This requires identifying and defining the business’ most relevant, differentiating and compelling attributes and values that will provide the competitive edge for their business over the medium to long term.

This ensures a clear articulation of the business and drives all future brand deployment, messaging and campaign development.

Once the new brand is articulated, an appropriate visual identity, such as logo and styleguide are developed. This brand is then rolled out and explained to all staff, ensuring that they live, breathe and supports the brand’s desired position.

Whether you’re a small, medium or large business, defining your brand forms the basis of everything you do, and dictates how you will be perceived by customers and potential customers. Get your brand right and Customers will start gravitating towards it, just as they do with GoPro, airlines and even clothing.

If you’d like to find out more about branding, don’t hesitate to give me a call or schedule a time in my diary to chat. You can find my availability by clicking on the button below.

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Website: Gerald Chait Strategic Marketing

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